The election for Bangkok governor looks set to heat up as two more high-profile figures will be nominated for the race, which is set to take place in April next year.
A source in the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) said Pathum Thani governor Narongsak Osottanakorn has finally agreed to run for Bangkok governor under the PPRP’s banner.
Mr Narongsak made the decision after meeting Deputy Prime Minister and PPRP leader Prawit Wongsuwon early this week, the source said, adding the PPRP will officially unveil Mr Narongsak as its candidate next week.
The source said the PPRP had previously approached Mr Narongsak to stand as its candidate, only for the Pathum Thani governor to turn down the offer. He initially said he had no political ambitions and wanted to remain in the civil service.
Mr Narongsak was hailed for his role in coordinating the rescue of a football team stuck in a flooded cave system in Chiang Rai — where he had also served as governor — a few years ago.
Previously, the PPRP eyed Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang as its candidate after former national police chief Chakthip Chaijinda, who had been tipped as the PPRP’s potential candidate, gave up his bid.
However, Jakkrapan Pornnimitr, the party’s MP for Bangkok and election supervisor in the capital, later said the PPRP has no plan to field Pol Gen Aswin in the poll. The incumbent has also given no indication he wants to run under the party’s banner.
Pol Gen Aswin was appointed by the now-defunct National Council for Peace and Order to replace MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra as governor in October 2016.
The source said the PPRP has yet to decide whether to field Mr Narongsak as a candidate on the party’s ticket or allow him to run as an independent with the support of the party.
This is because the party wants to gauge its popularity among voters in the capital first, the source said, adding that Bangkok voters are hard to predict.
“Right now, Mr Narongsak is the most outstanding potential candidate,” the source said. The Bangkok Post could not reach Mr Narongsak for comment on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Suchatchavee Suwansawas has emerged as a potential candidate for the gubernatorial race under the Democrat Party’s banner after he resigned as rector of King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL).
The university’s council on Thursday approved the resignation of Mr Suchatchavee as rector, effective on Monday. The news was announced on KMITL’s Facebook page, in a post that also thanked him for his hard work and dedication which it said had helped the university gain international recognition.
Deputy Democrat Party leader Ongart Klampaiboon said he will nominate Mr Suchatchavee as the candidate for the poll during the party’s executive committee meeting on Monday. If the party approves the nomination, Mr Suchatchavee will be unveiled as the party candidate the same day, he said.
Previously, Democrat Party leader Jurin Laksanawisit said the party’s executive committee will meet on Monday to discuss candidates for the election. The Bangkok Post could not reach Mr Suchatchavee for comment.
A Pheu Thai Party source said the main opposition party may decide to support Chadchart Sittipunt, a former transport minister in the Yingluck Shinawatra administration, who is running as an independent.
Mr Chadchart was ahead of other candidates in opinion surveys held before the two high-profile potential candidates emerged. A Nida poll released on Sunday showed that most respondents or 34.4% wanted Mr Chadchart to be the next Bangkok governor.
The Bangkok governor election has been put on hold since the 2014 coup. The last poll took place in March 2013.
Source: Bangkok post