Blackout mars mayor&’s policy launch

PATONG: A blackout sparked a security scare and interrupted a policy speech by Patong Mayor Surasak Maneesri during the launch of his re-election campaign Saturday night. As the unscheduled lights-out struck the gathering of about 1,000 people, bodyguards rushed to pull the heavily-garlanded mayor down onto the stage and surrounded him in case there had been a security breach. The lights – and the show – soon went on again, though the first three minutes of darkness were followed by two more short blackouts. Eventually Mayor Surasak, target of an apparent assassination bid in June, decided to postpone his full policy speech for a later campaign gathering. The election, which pits the Mayor’s Patong Gao-na (Patong Progress) group against former mayor Pian Keesin’s Palang Patong (Patong Power) Party, is now set for November 16 and 17. Earlier the mayor led 23 members of the Patong Gao-na on stage at the football field next to Patong beach after the audience had enjoyed a free buffet and drinks and performances on two stages, including sets by popular Look Toong singers. Between blackouts, Mayor Surasak told the crowd, “You can see how many people have come to see us tonight. We have done a lot of work while I have been mayor. “There are still many things that need to be done [that are] especially relevant to tourism, including the sidewalks. Many have water drains higher than the road, so when it rains, we have floods.” The Mayor did not mention the anger of local businesses at power failures this monsoon season. Saturday night’s policy blackout was attributed to the great number of lights in use at the time.

Phuket News
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