Former PM Somchai Wongsawat stuns with senate bid

Photo courtesy of The Nation

Former Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat made a surprise appearance at the Chiang Mai district office at 9am, marking the opening of senatorial candidate registrations.

Eyewitnesses report that Somchai, whose brief tenure as prime minister lasted from September 18 to December 2, 2008, did not address the media, slipping quietly into the registration process.

Somchai’s short-lived stint as prime minister was marred by dual crises: Thailand’s turbulent political landscape and the global financial meltdown. His leadership came to an abrupt end when the Constitutional Court dissolved his People’s Power Party (PPP) over fraud allegations, resulting in a political ban for him and other party executives. Adding a layer of intrigue to his comeback is his connection to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra: Somchai is married to the former PM’s sister.

Noppadol Suya, Director of the Election Commission in Chiang Mai, revealed that around 1,500 candidates from the province are expected to vie for a Senate seat. The promising turnout on the first day of registration signals a highly competitive race ahead. Noppadol cautioned all applicants to adhere strictly to regulations, particularly the prohibition against media self-promotion.

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According to the Constitution, the selection process involves multiple voting rounds at district, provincial, and national levels. Candidates must navigate six rounds of voting to secure one of the coveted 10 Senate seats allocated to each of the 20 eligible professional groups, with a reserve list of five candidates per group.

The first round of district-level voting is slated for June 9, followed by provincial voting on June 16, culminating in the final national round on June 26, reported The Nation.

The road to the Senate is set to be an arduous journey but Somchai’s unexpected entry has undoubtedly raised the stakes.

In related news, over 31,000 people have sought applications to become senators in the Thai Senate as the five-year term of 250 senators, installed by the defunct National Council for Peace and Order, concluded on Sunday. The Election Commission (EC) anticipates approximately 100,000 applications for the 200 available senate positions.

Chiang Mai NewsPolitics NewsThailand News

Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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