Activists protest in front of UN building against Thai NGO draft bill

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https://www.nationthailand.com/in-focus/40015867


A group of activists on Monday demonstrated in front of the United Nations building in Bangkok to protest against the government’s plan to enact a law for regulating non-governmental organisations.

Activists protest in front of UN building against Thai NGO draft bill

The group briefly engaged in a tussle with police after they were told to disperse for violating the emergency decree that prohibits the gathering of more than 10 persons.

The protesters, whose numbers were estimated to be a few dozen, managed to push metal barriers until police allowed them to occupy a part of Rajdamnoen Nok Road in front of the UN Economic and Social Commissioner for Asia and the Pacific Building.

The demonstration was led by Lertsak Khamkongsak, leader of the Commoner Party, and Somboon Khamhaeng, an activist from the South. The rally was joined by representatives from many groups, including the Constitution Advocacy Alliance, the EnLaw Thai Foundation, and the network of slum dwellers in four regions.

They labelled the demonstration as “eight years of the National Council for Peace and Order in power, we must stop it from expanding power”.

Activists protest in front of UN building against Thai NGO draft billThe protesters called on the government to send a representative to receive their demand by Monday or else they would rally in front of Government House on Tuesday.

They also called on the newly elected Bangkok governor to arrange mobile toilet facilities for demonstrators while they camp in front of the UN building.

“We need to use the road and the people have the right to demonstrate. We will not enter the UN building compound. We’ll use only the road in front and we will take rest to gather strength to swoop down on Government House tomorrow,” Lertsak said.

Activists protest in front of UN building against Thai NGO draft billHe said the group is against the draft bill — which is in the public hearing stage — on regulating non-governmental organisations, as once such a law comes into effect, it would restrict the people’s right to public assembly.

Published : May 23, 2022

By : THE NATION

Prawit congratulates Chadchart, vows to evaluate Palang Pracharath’s dismal show

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Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan on Monday congratulated independent candidate Chadchart Sittipunt for his landslide victory in the Bangkok gubernatorial election on Sunday.

Prawit congratulates Chadchart, vows to evaluate Palang Pracharath’s dismal show

Prawit, who is also Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) leader, said it is citizens who decide on their favourite candidates, and that the government is ready to support anyone who wins the election.

Prawit message followed congratulations to the governor-elect from Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

He said Palang Pracharath is yet to evaluate the Bangkok governor and councillor election results and its impact on the upcoming general election.

He added that the party will review its mistakes, after the party’s dismal performance of winning only two seats in Bangkok’s 50 districts.

The opposition Pheu Thai and Move Forward parties won the highest number of seats to the city council in Sunday’s elections.

The unofficial tally shows Pheu Thai, 19 seats, and Move Forward, 14 seats, as the big winners.

The Democrat Party, for whom Bangkok was once a stronghold, won only nine seats, while the ruling Palang Pracharath, Thai Sang Thai and the “Rak Bangkok” group got two seats each. Two other seats went to independent candidates.

Published : May 23, 2022

By : THE NATION

Successful Bangkok poll proves Thais don’t want revolt, says Thaksin

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https://www.nationthailand.com/in-focus/40015861


The smooth voting for Bangkok governor and city council on Sunday is clear proof that Thais do not want a revolution, former PM Thaksin Shinawatra said.

Successful Bangkok poll proves Thais don’t want revolt, says Thaksin

Thaksin made the remark after independent candidate Chadchart Sittipunt, who was transport minister in Yingluck Shinawatra’s government, won by a landslide on Sunday.

Pro-democracy Pheu Thai and Move Forward parties also won the highest number of seats in the city council, which Bangkokians voted for along with choosing their governor.

The unofficial tally shows that Pheu Thai has claimed victory in 19 and Move Forward in 14 of Bangkok’s 50 districts.

The Democrat Party, for whom Bangkok was once a stronghold, only won nine seats, while Palang Pracharath, Thai Sang Thai and the “Rak Bangkok” group won two seats each. Another two independent candidates won in two Bangkok districts.

“I think that today, the three uncles [PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan and Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda] are out of condition because they don’t listen to others,” Thaksin said. “The longer they stay [in Parliament], the more they destroy the country and themselves.”

The former PM also pointed out that Pheu Thai is the largest opposition party and it will not allow Prayut to return as premier again.

He also said that he was proud of his youngest daughter Paetongtarn’s ability to look after the so-called “Pheu Thai family” as the party’s public participation and innovation adviser. He said she understands politics, and does not want to become PM but wants to strengthen the party so it receives a good response from voters.

He also congratulated Chadchart and thanked voters for choosing him to look after Bangkok. By casting their ballots, Thais have already said “we don’t want a revolution”, Thaksin said, adding that he would return home once the time is right.

Published : May 23, 2022

By : THE NATION

Prayut congratulates Chadchart, promises cooperation from govt

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https://www.nationthailand.com/in-focus/40015850


Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha congratulated Chadchart Sittipunt for his landslide victory in the gubernatorial election on Sunday and promised to help him with Bangkok’s development projects.

Prayut congratulates Chadchart, promises cooperation from govt

“The prime minister is happy that Chadchart won the trust of Bangkokians to become the new governor,” government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said on Monday.

The unofficial tally shows that Chadchart won 1,386,769 votes, the highest ever recorded in Bangkok elections. However, his victory is yet to be endorsed by the Election Commission.

Thanakorn also quoted Prayut as saying that the government is willing to work with Chadchart and his team to push for Bangkok’s development.

“The government will support anything good and useful for Bangkokians. The government also has clear policies to give Bangkok residents a good quality of life,” the spokesman quoted Prayut as saying.

He also quoted Prayut as emphasizing that the government would be ready to work with a Bangkok governor or any group or party for the sake of public interest.

Published : May 23, 2022

By : THE NATION

Bangkok gives Chadchart record-breaking mandate with over 1.3m votes

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https://www.nationthailand.com/in-focus/40015846


Independent candidate Chadchart Sittipunt did not just win by a landslide but made history in the Bangkok governor election on Sunday.

Bangkok gives Chadchart record-breaking mandate with over 1.3m votes

He came away with 1,386,769 votes, with Democrats’ Suchatvee Suwansawat and Move Forward’s Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn trailing far behind with 254,723 and 253,938, respectively.

The former transport minister who was once Pheu Thai Party’s prime ministerial candidate even broke Democrat Sukhumbhand Paribatra’s record, who won in 2013 with 1,256,349 votes.

Sukhumbhand was followed by Pheu Thai’s Pongsapat Pongcharoen with 1,077,899 votes and independent Sereepisuth Temeeyaves with 166,582 votes.

Meanwhile, Chadchart promises to make “Bangkok, a liveable city for everyone” with his 214 policies under nine “good” categories. They are:

1. Good safety

• Designate areas at risk of crimes, traffic and disaster

• Set up a command centre to tackle disaster

• Check for damaged roads and power outages

2. Good travel

• Install a smart traffic management system to facilitate traffic

• Improve public transport, as well as increase main and minor bus lines at cheap fares

• Discuss BTS Green Line issues to reduce the burden on people

• Improve pavements

3. Good health

• Enable Bangkok hospitals to access patients’ medical history to improve medical treatment

• Improve Health Service Centres’ potential

• Implement telemedicine service

• Increase exercise areas and sports grounds

4. Good creative

• Change Bangkok City Hall and Lan Khon Muang Town Square into a museum and creative space

• Organise open-air art exhibitions to attract people

• Set up a database on government and private areas to facilitate public activities

5. Good environment

• Plant trees to boost green areas and tackle air pollution

• Hire arborists to take care of trees in each district

• Launch a project to detect black exhaust smoke

• Launch a project to manage waste

6. Good structure

• Rearrange city structure

• Improve infrastructure

• Create jobs

• Reduce congestion in the city

• Launch a project to dredge pipes and canals

• Set up high-quality water pumps

• Reduce flood-prone areas

• Seek natural flood-intake areas

7. Good management

• Develop tracking systems for applications with Bangkok agencies

• Amend Bangkok related canons

• Enable people to participate in budgeting

• Allow people to assess Bangkok district directors and governor

8. Good education

• Open schools on holidays as activity and learning spaces for students and community members

• Extend school hours to match with parents’ working hours

• Organise creative activities from speakers inside and outside schools

• Add foreign language courses

• Apply technologies in schools, so students’ skills can be built up for the future

9. Good economy

• Build a creative economy across Bangkok

• Promote Bangkok districts to stimulate the grassroots economy

• Improve street vendors’ quality of life

• Increase access to financial resources

• Provide technical assistance and create trade venues

• Launch a project to create a Made in Bangkok brand

• Select and develop products from manufacturers in Bangkok

• Promote and expand products in e-commerce markets

Chadchart’s policies can be accessed via https://www.chadchart.com/policy/.

Published : May 23, 2022

By : THE NATION

New era dawns for Bangkok as Chadchart triumphs

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https://www.nationthailand.com/in-focus/40015833


Bangkokians entrusted their city to independent candidate Chadchart Sittipunt on Sunday with a landslide win in a poll seen as a race that transcends the political divide.

New era dawns for Bangkok as Chadchart triumphs

Progressive candidate Chadchart had received 1,282,191 votes as of 10pm according to the Bangkok Metropolitan PR website. The website said this figure was based on tallies in 93.05 per cent or 6,343 of the 6,817 polling stations. Counting was ongoing in 474 stations as of press time.

The voter turnout stands at about 60.69 per cent based on counted ballots so far. Of the ballots tallied, 1.50 per cent or 37,062 were deemed invalid, while 2.70 per cent or 66,867 were “no votes”.

Chadchart surged ahead of Democrat Party’s Suchatvee Suwansawat by 1,046,542 votes, who held the second place with 235,649 votes.

Following Suchatvee closely was Move Forward’s Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn with 235,295 votes, while independent candidate Sakoltee Phattiyakul came in fourth with 213,594 votes. Chadchart’s predecessor, Aswin Kwanmuang, came in fifth with 199,662 votes.

Political observers believe Bangkok voters overwhelmingly backed Chadchart because he projected himself as a capable administrator with no political affiliations.

Though he was transport minister under Yingluck Shinawatra’s government and Pheu Thai Party’s prime ministerial candidate, Chadchart has distanced himself from the party for the past several years to prepare himself for the gubernatorial race.

Chadchart’s lead was visible soon after the polling stations closed at 5pm, and quickly passed the 100,000 mark soon after counting began. The lead became wider as counting continued.

New era dawns for Bangkok as Chadchart triumphsSuch overwhelming support for Chadchart prompted many of his rivers to concede defeat. Aswin, who was handed the governor’s job after the 2014 coup, was among the first to acknowledge the winner.

At about 8.40pm, Chadchart went on stage in his election war room to thank voters and acknowledge his unofficial victory.

Chadchart also thanked Suchatvee, who called the projected governor-elect to express his congratulations.

He said most Bangkok governor candidates offered good policies in their campaigns and that he would do his best to adopt these ideas when he runs the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration over the next four years.

Chadchart also said he will work with Bangkok councillors regardless of their political side.

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, leader of the Progressive Movement, also congratulated Chadchart Sunday night.

“I would like to congratulate Khun Chadchart. If you think our Progressive Movement can be useful in any way, you can call on us to support you. We are willing to support Khun Chadchart in Bangkok politics,” Thanathorn said.

New era dawns for Bangkok as Chadchart triumphsThai Sang Thai Party’s candidate Sita Divari said earlier in the evening that he did not really want to run for the governor’s post but was encouraged to set an example for the younger politicians.

“Though I may not be elected, I will do my political work, but will first consult the party about my role. Anyway, our goal is to contest the general election,” he said.

Kla Party leader Korn Chatikavanij also congratulated Chadchart on Sunday evening as the vote count indicated the independent candidate was on course to be the next Bangkok governor.

“Congratulations to Mr Chadchart for receiving overwhelming support from Bangkok voters,” Korn posted on Facebook. “He is a man of decisive intentions and strong preparation. I also admire his campaign for creating hope instead of hatred among people. It was truly a creative way of campaigning.”

Wiroj also announced at around 8pm that Chadchart had beaten him and will become Bangkok’s 17th governor.

“Though the counting is not yet finished, the difference is far too high and I must congratulate Mr Chadchart for winning,” Wiroj told the press on Sunday evening. “I want to thank all voters who opted for me and the Move Forward Party today, and also thank them for coming out and exercising their rights.”

Published : May 22, 2022

By : THE NATION

Chadchart streaking ahead in count as rivals concede defeat

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https://www.nationthailand.com/in-focus/40015830


Former transport minister Chadchart Sittipunt’s lead in the Bangkok governor election widened to over 290,000 votes just after 8pm on Sunday, according to Nation TV website.

Chadchart streaking ahead in count as rivals concede defeat

Chadchart had received 356,330 of the 581,131 votes counted as of 8.10pm.

The signs of overwhelming support for Chadchart from Bangkok voters prompted several of his rivals to concede defeat.

Second in the ongoing count was Suchatvee Suwansawat of the Democrat Party with 66,262 votes while Move Forward’s Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn was third on 65,898 votes.

Among those to concede defeat was Aswin Kwanmuang, who held the Bangkok governorship until recently after being appointed by the junta following the 2014 coup.

Chadchart’s lead quickly grew above 100,000 votes shortly after the ballot counting started.

Wiroj and Suchatvee have swapped positions with Wiroj initially in second for over an hour before being displaced and then leapfrogging Suchatvee again.

Polling stations closed at 5pm, when the ballot-counting began under close scrutiny by media outlets – who are also compiling their own unofficial count.

Most media outlets agree that Chadchart has soared ahead in the count from the beginning.

According to Nation TV website, Sakoltee Phattiyakul (independent) was fourth with 62,432 votes while Aswin was fifth with 53,474 votes.

Published : May 22, 2022

By : THE NATION

Poramet Ngampichet leads vote count for Pattaya mayor poll

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An unofficial tally showed Poramet Ngampichet from the “We Love Pattaya” group as a clear frontrunner in the Pattaya mayor election on Sunday.

Poramet Ngampichet leads vote count for Pattaya mayor poll

As of 8.31pm, Poramet had won 14,590 votes, followed by 12,695 won by Pattaya Ruamjai’s Sinchai Wattanasatsathorn and 8,826 by Progressive Movement’s Kittisak Ninwattanatochai.

Independent candidate Sakchai Taenghor held up the rear with just 895 votes as of press time.

This is the first time in nine years that Bangkok and Pattaya residents have been given a say in who runs their cities after local elections were suspended when the military took over in 2014.

Coincidentally, May 22 (Sunday) also marks the eighth anniversary of the coup led by then-Army chief General Prayut Chan-o-cha toppled Yingluck Shinawatra’s government.

Poramet has come up with a policy called “Better Pattaya”, which will focus on boosting tourism events, extending service hours of entertainment venues and adding more landmarks to the city to attract both local and foreign tourists. He also plans to open the Na Kluea mangrove forest to serve as an off-the-beaten-track destination for tourists.

The politician is well known in the city because he has worked closely with the political dynasty of late Somchai Kunplome, who was better known as Kamnan Poh, the “Godfather of Chonburi”.

The first runner-up Sinchai had worked with Poramet in the Pattaya Council and was appointed as president of the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association twice.

Pattaya has 78,415 voters and almost 70 per cent showed up to cast their vote as expected by the Election Commission.

Published : May 22, 2022

By : THE NATION

Pheu Thai, Move Forward snap up seats in Bangkok Council

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https://www.nationthailand.com/in-focus/40015828


The pro-democracy Pheu Thai and Move Forward parties won the highest number of seats in the city council that Bangkokians voted for alongside casting votes for the governor.

Pheu Thai, Move Forward snap up seats in Bangkok Council

The unofficial tally showed that Pheu Thai had claimed victory in 14 and Move Forward in 13 of Bangkok’s 50 districts.


The Democrat Party won seven seats, while the ruling Palang Pracharath (PPRP) won three. The “Rak Bangkok” Group won three seats, while Thai Sang Thai and Bhumjaithai parties won one seat each.

This is the first time in 12 years that Bangkokians have voted for a new city council, which serves as the capital’s law-making assembly and works alongside the city’s governor. The council will propose, review and approve the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s regulations and budget bill to ensure transparency in the administration of the city.

Published : May 22, 2022

By : THE NATION

Ex-governor Aswin admits defeat, thanks Bangkokians for votes

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https://www.nationthailand.com/in-focus/40015825


Former Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang gracefully accepted his defeat at a press conference he held at 7.30pm on Sunday.

Ex-governor Aswin admits defeat, thanks Bangkokians for votes

Aswin, who stepped down as governor to contest as an independent candidate, only had 40,393 votes as of 7.41pm, far behind Chadchart who had won 268,256 of the 520,271 votes counted. The tally was reported by Nation TV.

“Based on the tally up to this minute, Chadchart is the clear winner,” Aswin said. “I respect people’s decision and would like to thank them for the votes they have given me.”

He added that hopes Chadchart will continue his policies and projects. “At this moment, I have no plans for the immediate future. I will maybe rest a little,” the former governor said.

Published : May 22, 2022

By : THE NATION