Bangkok mayor election
Tanisorn Vongsoontorn/Time Out Bangkok

Bangkok Elections 2022: The big players running for governor and their platforms

The gubernatorial elections are just around the corner. Check out who’s running and what they will do if elected.

Arpiwach Supateerawanitt
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Arpiwach Supateerawanitt
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Bangkok is about to have a new governor after NINE YEARS. Yes, it’s been almost a decade since the city’s residents were able to exercise their democratic right to vote.

Rewind back to 2013 when the current prime minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha (who was then the leader of the National Council for Peace and Order or NCPO), chimed in and appointed Assawin Kwanmuang as the governor of Bangkok. Since Mr. Kwanmuang assumed the position, he’s authorized a few development projects in Bangkok, including the restoration of several canals and the expansion of green spaces.

We thank you for your service, sir, but maybe it’s time for Mr. Kwanmuang to pass on the torch to new blood. The Election Commission of Thailand announced in March that Bangkok will host its very first gubernatorial election in nine years on May 22, and we’re excited to see who will take the highest seat in local government.

A total of 31 individuals are running for governor. Here’s a list of the most interesting candidates and a rundown of their policies and plans, and their stand regarding transportation and green spaces in Bangkok. 

No. 1 -  Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn (Move Forward Party)

The nominee from the youth-beloved party is proposing campaigns surrounding equity, and promises to tackle bribery issues in civil governance,  which seems to be right up his valley after he exposed discrepancies in the Prayut government’s Information Operations (IO) propaganda campaign.

Green spaces:

  • Turning abandoned spaces into public parks

Transportation:

  • Encouraging commuting by bus with a discount “urbanist” ticket 
  • Creating a transport card that can be used for all sorts of public transportation, including trains, boats and buses
  • Minimizing transportation fees to approximately B15 to B45 per trip

No. 3 - Sakoltee Phattiyakul (independent candidate)

One of the leaders of the royalist/right-winged People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), Sakoltee has a long history with the country’s conservative parties and also once sat as the deputy Bangkok governor. Now, he is endeavoring to become the city’s next governor,  with the help of a  virtual campaign that stresses that Bangkok “can be better”.

Green spaces:

  • Building a public park in each of the 50 districts of Bangkok

No. 4 - Suchatvee Suwansawat (Democrat Party)

Prior to his candidacy, Suchatvee made headlines after unintentionally claiming to be a (distant) descendant of legendary scientist Albert Einstein. He does have an impressive background in tech, including degrees in engineering and environment from MIT, and collaborations with tech-focused universities. AI is also one of his specialties and is  pushed in his platform.

Green spaces:

  • Making public parks accessible to everyone 

Transportation:

  • Solving traffic congestion through AI technology
  • Improving footpaths to meet international standards
  • Building an above-ground lane for bikes

No. 6 - Aswin Kwanmuang (independent candidate)

Appointed by Prayut Chan-o-cha in 2016, the incumbent governor for the past five years has done quite a lot for Bangkok (at least from what he contends), including the revitalization of several canals and abandoned spaces. If elected, he promises to continue pushing Bangkok for the better, as he claims to be all-knowing about every single district in the city.

Green spaces:

  • Creating more green spaces
  • Managing waste
  • Restoring polluted canals

No. 7 - Rosana Tositrakul (independent candidate)

The only big female player in the race is known for her exposé of the infamous corruption case of the Ministry of Public Health in 1998. Since then, Rosana has continued her work against corruption, and is now committed to solving environmental and infrastructural problems that have long plagued Bangkok, such as flooding, PM2.5 dust, traffic and pedestrian spaces.

Transportation:

  • Planning to renationalize the BTS
  • Reducing train fees to B20 for all stops 

No. 8 - Chadchart Sittipunt (independent candidate)

Despite being the subject of many memes, Chadchart’s candidacy is no joke. His CV is packed with impressive stints with the Ministry of Transport during the days of Thaksin and Yingluck. His diplomatic attitude and left-winged mentality seem to have won the hearts of the new generation.

Green spaces:

  • Building more public parks that are located within 15 minutes of one another 
  • Developing footpaths for pedestrians
  • Growing one million trees

Transportation:

  • Assessing the efficiency of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), aka those poorly-run buses along Narathiwat Road
  • Collaborating with Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA, the organization that runs underground trains) to resolve issues on interchange fee charging
  • Carrying out the construction of BTS Green Line (the main Sukhumvit line) with transparency and reducing train fees
  • Minimizing bus fees to B10 en route, and waiving fees for students and senior citizens

See also: (Some) mayoral candidates have reduced campaign signages in response to pedestrian complaints via this link.

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