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Bangkok gubernatorial election largely won by opposition figure

Residents of Thailand’s capital Bangkok have elected an independent politician seen as representing opponents of the country’s military-backed government

BANGKOK — Residents of Thailand’s capital Bangkok, for the first time in nine years to vote for their city’s governor, elected an independent politician seen as representing opponents of the country’s military-backed government, according to published results. Monday morning.

He competed in a field of 31 candidates, with a turnout of just under 61%.

“Now that we have received an order from the people, I would start work right away, visiting communities and areas to see where I can start my work as soon as possible as governor,” Chadchart told reporters Monday morning. have a young, dynamic and willing to move team.

The independent candidate who was seen as a replacement for the ruling Palang Pracharath party ran a weak fifth in the race. Former Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang, a retired senior police officer, came fifth with 214,692 votes, or around 8% of the votes cast.

Asawin, 71, was appointed governor in 2016 by Prayuth Chan-ocha, who as army commander seized power in a 2014 coup and sacked the former governor for corruption allegations. Prayuth was re-elected as prime minister after the 2019 elections in a coalition government led by the military-backed Palang Pracharath party.

Prayuth, who has been accused of fumbling the response to the coronavirus pandemic, is expected to face a no-confidence motion in parliament soon, and his rivals on his side have long been rumored to be seeking to impeach him. Even if he survives, there is to be a general election early next year.

Political science professor Thitinan Pongsudhirak of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok noted ahead of the vote that it was the first major election since the 2014 coup.

“People are hungry for a say,” he said in an email to The Associated Press. “The outcome, if clearly against the ruling Palang Pracharath, would be consequential for Parliament, Prayuth and defiance.”

However, while the election results in Bangkok are discouraging for Prayuth and the ruling party, they are not a death knell.

Although there were ideological reasons influencing many voters, Chadchart is also one of the most charismatic politicians in the country, who campaigned vigorously against the relatively colorless bureaucrat Asawin.

More importantly, voters in Bangkok do not necessarily reflect national trends in Thailand, whose electorate is largely rural. The ruling Palang Pracharath party was able to mobilize many rural voters in the 2019 elections with the help of influential local and provincial political leaders.

ABC News

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