05/23/2022, 11.33
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Bangkok votes for Chadchart Sittipunt as new governor

by Steve Suwannarat

The independent and liberal candidate won the election with more than 50 percent of the vote. Addressing the electorate, he appealed for unity. Yesterday's was the first call to the polls since the 2014 military coup. 



Bangkok (AsiaNews) - Independent and liberal candidate Chadchart Sittipunt yesterday won the election for governor of the capital. According to unofficial results, the 55-year-old won the post with a landslide victory: 1,386,215 votes out of 2,673,696, or 51.8 percent of eligible voters, the Metropolitan Administration announced.

In second place was Suchatvee Suwansawat, candidate of the Democratic Party with only 254,647 preferences, and Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn, of the Move Forward party, with 253,851 votes. Both acknowledged defeat and congratulated the winner.

This weekend's elections were the first since the 2014 military coup. Although under the persistent control of the generals, they marked a resumption of the democratic game and gave a signal of unity to the country.

Significantly, one of the 29 opponents, former police graduate Aswin Kwanmuang, installed to the post of governor-held until last March by former general Prayut Chan-ocha, former head of the post-coup military junta and now premier-was heavily defeated. Doubly significant that this happened on the same day that eight years ago the military once again imposed itself on the country.

A total of 4.4 million citizens were called to the polls, out of an estimated population three times larger; turnout was around 60 percent.

After a campaign that the former member of Pheu Thai, a party that leads the parliamentary opposition and refers to former premier Thaksin Shinawatra in exile since 2008, campaigned on the line of unity after the many years of social rifts and rough management, Chadchart Sittipunt confirmed that he was "ready to be everyone's governor."

"We have to overcome divisions. For the future I think we have to be united and walk together," he reiterated to supporters who cheered him on the news of the positive result. Sittipunt is a university professor, engineer, and served as transport minister in the government forced to dissolve after the coup. After leaving the Pheu Thai party, he worked for two years on what was the first election campaign since 2012.

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