Opposition politician wins Bangkok governorship again
Apirak Kosayodhin, a deputy leader of the opposition Democrat Party, swept Bangkok's gubernatorial election over the weekend, winning almost half of the votes in the 16- candidate race, according to official results announced Monday.
Apirak, Bangkok governor for the last four years, retained his job in Sunday's gubernatorial election, in which he won 991,018 votes, or 45.93 per cent of the total, the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority (BMA) said.
Coming second with 25.19 per cent was Prapas Chongsa-nguan, a member of the People Power Party (PPP) that leads Thailand's current government, reported dpa.
Chuwit Kamolvisit, a former massage-parlour tycoon, won 15.79 per cent of the 2,214,320 votes cast.
Only 54.38 per cent of registered voters went to the polls Sunday, said the BMA, down from the previous gubernatorial election four years ago when 62.5 per cent turned out.
"I'm satisfied with the results, although fewer people voted than four years ago," said Apirak.
He said that his priority was to prepare for flooding in the metropolis, as Thailand's enters the final weeks of the annual rainy season.
Apirak's win may be annulled if the Election Commission finds him guilty of abuse of power for allowing his name to appear on BMA billboards that described the authority's accomplishments in recent years.
If he is disqualified, Apirak faces a possible fine of 158 million baht (4.6 million dollars) to pay for a new election.
Apirak is a senior member of the Democrat Party, which has been in the opposition for the last eight years, though it is popular in Bangkok, seat of Thailand's government, industry and finance and home to an estimated 10 million people.
In the last three general elections, the Democrats, Thailand's oldest political party, have consistently lost to the Thai Rak Thai party and its successor, the People Power Party (PPP), which are identified with former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, a billionaire businessman who dominated Thai politics from 2001-06 before being ousted in a military coup.
The Thai Rak Thai, now defunct, and PPP, have widespread support in Thailand's populous and poorer northern and north-eastern provinces, while the Democrats are strong the more prosperous southern provinces and parts of Bangkok.