The Bangkok Governor Campaign 2004

Also: The Bangkok Governor candidates
Also: Bangkok Governor polls
Also: Thai Photoshoppers parody the campaign posters

Where do you get your news? - August 31, 2004
2Bangkok.com was pleased to have the only English-language results from the election on the web (from 03:18 Monday morning) until about 24 hours after the polls closed. Both The Nation and Bangkok Post's website results were based on results at the time the newspapers went to print (probably around 19:00 Sunday night). Late Monday afternoon The Nation finally posted the final results. The Post did not have the final results until their Tuesday edition.

Election of new Bangkok governor is an anti-government protest vote - TNA, August 31, 2004
...Many eye-brows were raised when Mr. Chuwit joined the race for governor.
Although Mr. Chuwit received substantial media coverage when he exposed police corruption in his massage parlours last year, he was not someone the public was really familiar with.
''I think quite a good number of Bangkok voters were attracted to Chuwit because they are fed up with politicians. When unknown volunteers offer to
serve them, Bangkok voters don't care who he is and where he is from, as long as he is frank and honest with them,'' said the academic.
Pol Capt. Chalerm Yubamrung failed to win many votes even though he is known as an accomplished parliamentary debater.
''Time changes and people want someone with good policies, not just a sharp tongue,'' Professor Somchai said.
Another leading political critic from Thammasat, Somkid Lertpaithoon, believes the Democrat’s candidate was elected because the people of Bangkok want some freshness injected into Thai politics.
''Apirak is a new face and a young qualified man. He was chosen because Bangkok voters have had doubts about some of the ruling party's policies. The government has been criticised because of conflicts of interest and for its open ambition to win 400 seats in next general elections, which will give it absolute power in the house of the representatives. I don't think Bangkok people would like that,'' he said.


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

After the election - August 25, 2004

ANALYSIS: PM needs to take stock as voters back underdog - The Nation, August 30, 2004
...The city poll has traditionally reflected middle-class sentiment toward national politics. Chamlong won gubernatorial landslides twice by portraying himself as an underdog who needed "you folks' help", as the powers-that-be were getting too powerful for him to fight alone. And when Chamlong became a victim of his own success, acquiring the "mainstream" label, Bhichit Rattakul beat him in the 1996 city poll by using the same underdog tactic.
...And while it is fair to say that not all votes cast for Apirak were meant to be a snub to the prime minister, one factor that should definitely not be overlooked is the massive support for that highly controversial candidate, "massage king" Chuwit Kamolvisit.
Each vote for the tycoon - who everyone knew ran houses of prostitution, bribed police and was accused of hiring men in uniform to raze a strip of Sukhumvit beer bars that obstructed his grand scheme - was bad news for both the Democrats and Thaksin...

The Chuwit ‘phenomenon’: gone tomorrow? - The Nation, August 31, 2004
...Isn’t our Parliament full of such “brave” men already – ones who will exercise their “conscience” selectively and be motivated not by principles, but rather by vengeance or vested interests? What difference will Chuwit make? His clash with the police made him a hero in many people’s eyes. But didn’t Chalerm Yoobamrung do similar things when his sons got into trouble with the police? Chuwit may have guts, but I wouldn’t call it “courage”. While he may not try to “hide” from his past, which seems inescapable anyway, he may try to seek refuge in politics like many others before him...


EDITORIAL: Apirak is the city’s man of the hour - The Nation, August 31, 2004
Good exploration of many possible factors in Apirak's win. It is just the presence of this kind of analysis that separates The Nation from the Bangkok Post.


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)
Update on votes - August 30, 2004
03:18 - The latest update on the official site shows:
Apriak (#1) - 911,441 votes
Pavenna (#7) - 619,039 votes
Chuwit (#15) - 334,168 votes
Chalerm (#3) - 165,761 votes
Nitipoom (#21) - 135,369 votes

And the winner is... Apirak - August 30, 2004
00:44 - It appears that Democrat candidate Apirak Kosayothin (#1 -website) has won the Bangkok Governor election. Official results are here.
Results at this hour show:
Apriak (#1) - 828,866 votes
Pavenna (#7) - 552,947 votes
Chuwit (#15) - 301,811 votes
Chalerm (#3) - 150,205 votes
Nitipoom (#21) - 122,113 votes
Also: Bangkok Governor candidates

Chuwit sees victory in 3rd place finish - The Nation, August 30, 2004
"These voters chose me for a feeling, not a reason. They knew that they had voted for reasons [before] and were let down all along," he said.
"Those [other] candidates were backed by political parties. In fact, [with the votes won] I think that I, an ordinary man with no political backing, beat them," he claimed.
Also: On their losses - The Nation, August 30, 2004
Also: Thaksin catches Pojaman with hand in her purse - The Nation, August 30, 2004
A small act of charity almost brought Khunying Pojaman Shinawatra in violation of election law yesterday when she began to give deaf children some money in front of the ballot box...
"Are you looking for money?" Thaksin asked his wife. She was speechless for a moment, as was the premier.
With a pensive appearance, he bent his head down to whisper into his wife's ear: "It's breaking the law to give money today ... it's an election day."...

Front-runners close websites - August 29, 2004
Looks like both front runners--Apirak and Pavenna--are taking no chances of being disqualified by the unpredictable Election Commission. Both of their websites (here and here) were taken off-line today.

Apirak tipped to win race for Bangkok governor - The Nation, August 29, 2004
Apirak leading while Pavina trailing in The Nation's survey - The Nation, August 29, 2004
Election results coming on line - August 29, 2004
15:28 - If you can access the BMA election page, the charts for the election results are being loaded now.

BMA site - August 29, 2004
14:45 - BMA's election coverage site is already crippled by overwhelming traffic (left). TNA later mentioned this at 18:29.


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)
Election day photos and late news - Sunday, August 29, 2004

Above: Polling station on Thahan Road, 9:45am

Left: Ballot box

Below: Suthisarn-area polling station, 9:10am

Also: We added Waranchai Chokchan, Bangkok Governor candidate #2, to our page of candidate posters.


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Above: 9:32am - There are polling stations outside the gates of each military base along Thahan Road. Soldiers were also walking in formation to polling stations in the Ratchadamnoen Nok Road area.

Last minute decision: No exit polls/Voters barred from telling anyone who they voted for - August 29, 2004

EC slaps ban on exit- polls for Bangkok votes - The Nation, August 29, 2004
In an eleventh-hour decision, the Election Commission (EC) yesterday banned exit polls for today's balloting for Bangkok governor on the grounds that it might influence the electoral outcome...
Suan Dusit pollster Sukhum Chaloeysap said he had already cancelled his plans to dispatch 5,000 students to conduct exit polls.
"My plans were ruined. I believe pollsters have been made a sacrificial lamb to share the blame for the EC's incompetence," he said.
Sukhum said the EC had been criticised for inept supervision of gubernatorial campaigns and it was trying to salvage its image by banning exit polls.
He said exit polls were deemed useful in the fight against vote-fixing.
"The survey can indicate the likely outcome and raises the alarm if there is any suspicious deviation in voting results," he said.
Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University academic Theerapat Serirangsan said he agreed with the ban.
"Exit polls could influence the decision of voters who are about to cast their ballots," he said...


EC bans exit poll on Bangkok governor election - TNA , August 29, 2004
...As the election day draws near, a ban on voters is also enforced barring them from disclosing their choices to fellow votors or candidates until a final result, according to Pol. Maj. Gen. Ekachai.
''If votors do otherwise, they will face a jail term ranging from 1 to 10 years, and a heavy fine from 20,000 to 200,000 baht. And under the Thai election laws, culprits will be stripped of their voting right for 10 years,'' he said.
...The popular Dusit Poll, a public poll conductor in Bangkok, has also been told not to carry out its activity on the election day, while Thai newspapers and other media have been advised against publishing any opinion polls...

Last-minute ads - August 29, 2005
Bangkok governor ads in the Bangkok Post: Front runner Apirak's newspaper ads all mention a BRT system as the centerpiece of his campaign. Kobsak's ad shows his plan for fountains along the Skytrain lines. (Thanks to Conor and Suchada for pointing these out.)

New Bangkok governor known by Sunday midnight - TNA, August 28, 2004
The Bangkok municipal authorities expect the unofficial result of the election for governor to be announced by midnight on Sunday...
The combined count – although it would only be an unofficial election result -- will be announced on a massive electronic board in front of the City Hall by midnight, according to the BMA's Permanent Secretary, Khun Ying Nathanon Thavisin...
The first results are expected to come from the inner districts like Phra Nakhon, Sampanthawong and Pomprab Satrupai.
In the past, the outer districts, like Talingchan in the western outskirts of Bangkok, have been the last results to come in because of transport and communication problems...

Outgoing Bangkok governor Samak Sundaravej - The Nation, August 29, 2005
..."For instance, I intended to extend the Skytrain from Sathorn to the Thon Buri side of Bangkok shortly after I took office [in 2000]. Initially, it seemed that the Thaksin government, which came to power in early 2001, would support the project. However, things changed later on when the government was fully in power and enjoyed a high degree of popularity in 2002-2003.
“Afterwards, it seemed that they wanted the Transport Ministry to consolidate all mass transit schemes. As a result, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration could not proceed with the Skytrain extension because we needed a budget contribution from the central government. For over three years, we could not invite bids for construction,” he says.
Beyond public transportation, the outgoing governor says that another big disappointment during his tenure was his inability to build a large-scale underground car-parking facility at Sanam Luang due to relentless opposition from environmentalists, who have argued that the scheme would negatively affect the protected Rattanakosin Island. However, Samak did manage to preside over the construction of a similar facility in front of Bangkok City Hall, which he claims as a success because it provides much-needed additional space for parking in the area surrounding the building.
...“Don’t forget that I had worked with eight administrations and prime ministers before I ran for the Bangkok governor post – from premier Thanin Kraivixien and General Prem Tinasulanonda to premier Banharn Silpa-archa and premier Chavalit Yongchaiyudh. During those years, I was a minister five times and a deputy premier three times. So I think my experience will still be useful if I run for the Senate,” he says.

Close race expected for Bangkok governor - AP, August 28, 6:41 PM
A candidate for the opposition Democrat Party is favored to become governor of Thailand's capital Sunday in an election seen as a referendum on Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his administration...
The governor's post is just a few notches above ceremonial, since the central government controls the pursestrings for most essential services in this city of 10 million people...
Election regulations make it illegal for pre-election polls to give the position of candidates, but local media have skirted the rules and have suggested that Democrat Apirak Kosayodhin holds a slight lead over independent Paveena Hongsakul.
Apirak, 43, resigned as CEO of a mobile phone service provider to enter the race. He has positioned himself as the candidate for those wishing to register a protest against Thaksin, whose autocratic ways have cost him popularity among the capital's relatively sophisticated electorate...
Paveena had been lawmaker from the Chat Pattana party, which recently agreed to merge itself into Thaksin's party, and is regarded as a proxy candidate for Thai Rak Thai, though both sides deny it...
Also expected to make a strong showing is Chuwit Kamolvisit, who owns half a dozen massage parlors in the capital which he willingly acknowledges are fronts for prostitution. He is running as a candidate for the First Thai Nation Party, which he founded.


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)


(Photo: 2Bangkok.com)

Polling station - August 28, 2004

Above: Polling station notice board covered in plastic to protect it from the elements. All the candidates' photos are posted.

Left: Notice covering photo of disqualified candidate Leena Jang.

More Nation coverage of the election - August 26, 2004
The Nation continues their blanket, somewhat opinionated, coverage of the Bangkok Governor race while the Bangkok Post does not have much to report other than letting readers know there is an election...

ELECTION FOR GOVERNOR : PM launches final assault - The Nation, August 26, 2004

Pundits downplay weight of City Hall - The Nation, August 26, 2004
Hopes that City Hall can counterbalance Government House are misplaced because each has its own set of laws and duties, political pundits said yesterday...

THAI TALK: A calculated verdict for Bangkok on Sunday - The Nation, August 26, 2004
...You would be well-advised not to try to explain why Bangkok voters can never present a discernible pattern with their ballot-casting. Just when you think most of them will be casting their votes against those allied with the establishment, the voters of Bangkok will startle you by throwing their full support behind the candidates they love to hate.
That's called "going with the currents, right or wrong". Some observers are convinced that this is one of our unthinking cosmopolitan citizenry's unshakeable weaknesses.
But before you come to the conclusion that Bangkokians are hopelessly subservient to the powers that be, you would do well to remember that it wasn't too long ago that the so-called "mobile phone mob" materialised out of nowhere on Silom Road to demand the ouster of the Chavalit government.
You may accuse them of being restless or hopelessly romantic, but Bangkokians do know when and where they should draw the line, especially when they know that their famous Thai patience is being exploited by opportunistic politicians whose only consistent behaviour is expediency...

AFP: Bangkok "arguably the world's sleaziest capital" - August 26, 2004
From the 'anything ironic is news' department--anti-prostitute candidate vs. the pimp candidate/Chuwit running against government that cracked down on sleaze.
Sex workers back former massage parlour boss in race for Bangkok hot seat - AFP, August 25, 2004
...Sex and politics have often proved close bedfellows but rarely so overtly as in Sunday's election for control of arguably the world's sleaziest capital, which features a former massage parlour tycoon and a prominent activist against child prostitution as two of the key candidates...
While they are just two of 22 candidates in the field, they are among the most colourful and have a history of conflict.
Complaints by Paveena, who champions women's rights, led to Chuwit being charged with employing underage girls as prostitutes in some of his massage parlours that once employed nearly 2,000 young women...
The governor, who has 89,000 employees in his charge, has relatively little power, particularly under the almighty executive-style administration of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
His government led a morality campaign that has seen entertainment venues raided by police and a crackdown on operating hours for Bangkok nightspots.

Leena disqualified/Pavena's education - The Nation, August 25, 2004
...She came under the commission spotlight last Wednesday when she led her cabaret dancing team outside Centre Point in Siam Square.
They danced and sang on the back of a pickup truck to gain the attention of voters...
After Leena defended the allegation, the five commissioners watched TV news footage of the incident and ruled unanimously against her.
...Leena will be banned from contesting all political posts for one year, he said, and she and her dancers would have criminal charges brought against them, which carry a maximum of 10 years in prison.
Jaral said the Bangkok election commission would tell the public not to cast their votes for Leena, candidate 6, and advise them that such a ballot would be invalid.


[Note the interesting point that Pavena claims to have attended a college that went bankrupt in 1993.]
Meanwhile, governor candidate Pavena Hongsakul denied allegations that she lied about her educational background while studying in the United States. She said she could prove that she attained a Bachelor of Commerce at Bliss College in Ohio.
A group of university students claimed Pavena had failed to complete the course.


Poll results of August 14-15
- August 22, 2004

'Undecided' takes the lead in city race - The Nation, August 21, 2004
...As the governor's race drags on, voters are growing increasingly undecided over who should pilot the City of Angels for the next four years, according to the latest Thammasat-Nation poll.
The figure for undecided voters reached 52 per cent in the last poll. Researchers said most undecided voters said they probably would check the "no-choice" box because none of the candidates or their policies seemed palatable to them.
Voters on the fence said this election had no outstanding candidates and no attractive policies. Most of these voters are educated, middle-class and - surprisingly - Thai Rak Thai supporters. They are unhappy with every candidate, including the ruling party's pet runner, Pavena Hongsakul...

TRT seeks to end Chalerm bid - The Nation, August 19, 2004
Party hopes to halt Pavena's poll slide by convincing veteran politician to back her.
The Bangkok governor election took a bizarre turn yesterday when the Thai Rak Thai Party began hatching plans to convince candidate Chalerm Yoobamrung to withdraw from the race and back Pavena Hongsakul, whose popularity is steadily sliding, a party source said...

Dr Bhijit's plan for the Phaseecharoen Canal tram - August 18, 2004
Wisarut reports: I've been to Victory Monument Station and seen the election campaign ads from Dr Bhijit who has rented the ad space from BTS. One of his ads is the tram along Phaseecharoen Canal:

Vote DR Bhijit No. 19
Finishing the tram along Phaseecharoen Canal

Station: Saphan Taksin
|
| Chaophraya River
|
Station: Charoen Nakhon
|
| The part is done, ready for rails and stations
| <- (Green Solid Line) constructed and serviced open immediately up to Ratchada of Thonburi
|
Station: Taksin/Wongwianyai
|
|
|
Station: Ratchada/Tha Phra
:
: < (yellow line) Definitely to be constructed up to Kanchanaphisek Outer Ring Road/S Wutthakart
:
:
Station: Phetkasem/Wat Nuan Noradit
....
Station: Wat Ang Kaeo
....
Station: Wat Rang Bua
<- This line runs along Kanchanaphisek Outer Ring Road

Wat Nuan Noradit is along Bangkok Noy Canal, not Phaseecharoen Canal though this temple also is close to Phetkasem Road (Highway 4). I guess that Dr Bhijit is going to redirect the interchange with MRTA Subway (the Southern extension) from Bang Wah Station to Bang Phai Station since Bang Phai Station is the station near Bangkok Noy Canal and Wat Nuan Noradit. However, another likely option for Dr Bhijit is to keep the interchange with MRTA Subway at Bang Wah and then move the tram terminal to Wat Nuan Noradit which will interchange with the Subway at Bang Phai and change Phetkasem into an interchange station. This can be shown as follows:

Station: Saphan Taksin
|
| Chaophraya River
|
Station: Charoen Nakhon
|
| The part is done, ready for rails and stations
| <- (Green Solid Line) constructed and serviced open immediately up to Ratchada of Thonburi
|
Station: Taksin (Krung Thonburi)
|
|
|
Station: Wongwianyai
|
|
|
Station: Ratchada Tha Phra
:
: < (yellow line) Definitely to be constructed up to Kanchanaphisek Outer Ring Road/S Wutthakart
:
: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
   
:
         
Station: Wat Nuan Noradit
.....
Station: Phetkasem

.....
Station: Wat Ang Kaeo
.....
Station: Wat Rang Bua
<- This line runs along Kanchanaphisek Outer Ring Road

The section from Saphan Taksin to Phetkasem must be strong enough to accept the heavy load of Skytrain rolling stock (axle load of at least 15 tons) for smooth service. The section from Wat Nuan Noradit (or Phetkasem to Kanchanaphisek) may be LRT which has a much lighter load (probably 10 tons axle load).
I expect the section from Saphan Taksin to Phetkasem to be approved since it follows the masterplan. However, the section from Wat Nuan Noradit to Kanchanaphisek Outer Ring Road is unlikely to get approval since that section is parallel with Phetkasem Road which Subway is heading to even though there are several people living along Phaseecharoen Canal and there is a long-tail boat service (running only from morning to evening).
It would be more economical to set up a permanent pier at either Phetkasem or Wutthakart to allow long tail boats along Bangkok Noy Canal and Phaseecharoen Canal to park and function as feeders.


Earlier: Dr. Bhijit proposes tram along Phaseecharoen Canal - Matichon, August 1, 2004
Earlier: The story of the Elevated Phaseecharoen elevated way and the stalled Skytrain extension

Who backs Pavena and who backs Chalerm - August 18, 2004
(from TRT to punish Pavena nonsupporters, The Nation, August 18, 2004) ...The ruling Thai Rak Thai party is threatening to blacklist any city councillor that fails to jump on the Pavena Hongsakul Bangkok governor bandwagon, according to Apichart Halamjeuk, a TRT Bangkok councillor.
Apichart said all 17 TRT city councillors had been warned to campaign for Pavena or risk losing the nomination for their posts in the next election. Brushing aside the threats all but one of the councillors planned to continue endorsing Muanchon Party leader Chalerm Yoobamrung for the capital’s top job...

Results from the poll of August 7-8 - August 17, 2004

Bangkok electors urged to vote and prevent vote-buying - TNA, August 15, 2004
...Vote-buying is expected to be rampant in the electoral districts of Bangsue, Yanawa, Saphan Soong and Chatujak, Somchai Srisuthiyakorn, the Director of the Human Resources Institute told TNA. And the best way to combat this, he says, is for as many electors as possible to cast their ballots in the election.
In the last election for Bangkok governor, less than sixty percent of Bangkok’s registered electors went to the polling booths. If over 70 percent of Bangkok residents turn up to cast their votes, the winner is more likely to be a true representative of the people, according to Mr. Somchai.
Four recent public opinions polls conducted by Thammasat University and The Nation newspaper show there is less than two percent separating the top four candidates
As the race for Bangkok governor is expected to be very close, vote-buying could play a significant role in determining the outcome. As much as 200 million baht (or 500 baht per head) is expected to be spent on votes-buying.

Hunting for promising talent on the campaign trail - The Nation, August 14, 2004
Several polls predict that the Bangkok governor election campaign will be a three-horse race, but it would be a pity if voters were eyeing only a small group of candidates when there is a pack of interesting personalities to cast a ballot for on August 29. Here is an assessment of each candidate’s possibilities...

Monthly salaries for top Bangkok city officials - translated from the BMA website, August 8, 2004

  Salary Allowance/expenses Total
Governor
61,000
41,500
102,500
Deputy Governor
58,890
20,750
79,640
Secretary
33,600
4,400
38,000
Assistant Secretary
30,260
2,200
32,460
Head Advisor
36,800
8,800
45,600
Advisor
33,600
4,400
38,000


Candidate Apirak promises Bus Rapid Transit - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Dailynews, August 3, 2004
Democrat Bangkok Governor candidate Apirak has asked Dr Samart Rajpolasit about the plan to come up with a 9-line BRT with a budget of 280 billion. It would have a 3-car formation with 270 passengers and a ticket price of 8-16 baht and stops every 500-800 meters. The hourly trip will carry 18,000 passengers a hour and it is dirt cheap (50 million baht/km vs 800 million baht/km of Skytrain).
The first 2 lines would be:
1) Talingchan - Rajdamnoen - Rathewee Station
2) Kaset Nawamnin to feed Subway/Skytrain stations
Furthermore, BMA is going deal with bicycle routes around Bangkok, installing smart traffic signs and Smart Parking lots with smart cards to boost number of cars parked without adding more space and minimize the download.
More on Bangkok Busways (Bus Rapid Transit - BRT) & buses

Dr. Bhijit proposes tram along Phaseecharoen Canal - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Matichon, August 1, 2004
Bangkok Governor candidate Dr Bhijit said he would revive the tram along Phaseecharoen Canal which has been frozen since he retired from his first term as Governor. There would be three sections for this tram/Skytrain link:
1) Saphan Taksin - Ratchadaphisek (Tha Phra, near Talad Ploo). The structure for this was built during the time of Governor Samak [This is the Phaseecharoen Elevated Way originally to be an elevated road, but later converted to be the Taksin extension of the Skytrain. It has never been completed since the government halted Skytrain expansion for political reasons and later to force the Skytrain company to sell itself to the government.]
2) Ratchadaphisek - Wat Ang Kaeo - Main built during the tenure of Governor Bhijit [Also the Phaseecharoen Elevated Way/Taksin Skytrain extension]
3) Wat Ang Kaeo - Phaseecharoen Canal - Kanchanaphisek Outer Ring Road
After completing this project, the number of passengers for the Skytrain from the Thonburi side of Bangkok would be increased from 35,000 to 100,000 a day.
Dr Jo also disagrees with the government's plan to delay the bidding process since those who live in Thonburi Bangna and Samrong have waited for Skytrain extensions for too long. The government should grant more funds to BMA to complete the projects instead of delaying them. After that, the government will pay back to the owners later.
Commentary by Wisarut: The 3rd section is parallel with the Southern Extension of the Blue Line Subway Ring and is unlikely to get approval. Therefore, Dr Jo (Dr. Bhijit) better concentrate on the construction of the section from Saphan Taksin to Phetkasem (Wat Ang Kaeo) instead.
Since section 1-2 has become the Taksin-Phetkasem extension of the Skytrain, it does not make any sense at all to run a tram since BTSC is planning to run the Skytrain rolling stock instead.
Those who live along Narathiwat Ratchanakharin and Rama 3 inner ring road are already fed up with broken promises for the Rama 3 extension which never materialized.
Many Thai netters no longer trust Dr Jo as the forum response to the news implies.

Governor election: The Bangkok dilemma - The Nation, July 26, 2004
...It used to be so simple. Over the past two decades, Bangkok governor elections have been generally been showdowns between one "giant" and a charismatic underdog. Other candidates were there almost just for fun.
But when the dust settles down this Friday, at the end of a five-day candidate registration period beginning this morning, Bangkokians could feel like many do when selecting a shampoo from the shelves of a mega-store. There could be up to 30 or more candidates with different qualities and controversies to "mess up" a voter's head...
The "I-will-try-Chuwit, what's-there-to-lose?" bandwagon is growing. Although it remains to be seen how much of this sentiment - expressed with increasing frequency at parties, office talks, and dinner tables - will translate into real votes that snub mainstream politics. But many of Thaksin and Pavena's detractors and those doubtful about the Democrats are known to share both views - and they exist in big numbers in Bangkok.
Candidates to watch
Chuwit - Fearful of Thai Rak Thai’s growing domination yet having little faith in the Democrats, many Bangkok voters appear ready to cast “sarcastic” votes by choosing Chuwit. They consider his showdown with the police an act of courage, and disregard the fact that he has been an integral part of the notorious sex industry as well as a badly corrupt law enforcement system.
Apirak - Apirak could suffer as disenchanted voters turn to Chuwit, which will damage his chances challenging Pavena. He will have to count on whether voters’ discontent with the Thai Rak Thai party is widespread enough to have an effect and whether it will reach boiling point just before the election.
Pavena - Insisting that she is running as an independent, but having the Thai Rak Thai brand embossed all over her campaign, Pavena, as the frontrunner for the job, will benefit from the Chuwit factor. Her own support base plus Thai Rak Thai votes makes her a formidable – but not unbeatable – candidate.
Chalerm - His long-standing support base guarantees a number of votes, enough to make one of Thailand’s most controversial politicians avoid a major embarrassment. His popularity among voters appears to be around the same level as Chuwit’s. But many voters will visit polling booths with the Twenty Pub murder trial, in which his son was acquitted, weighing heavily on their minds.

Also: The Bangkok Governor candidates
Also: Bangkok Governor polls
Also: Thai Photoshoppers parody the campaign posters

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