Candidates register for general election

PHUKET: Tsunami or no, the four parliamentary candidates from the two big political parties turned up this morning to register their candidacies for the upcoming general election.

With the Democrat Party candidates in blue, their Thai Rak Thai (TRT) opponents in red, all wearing yellow garlands and cheered on by enthusiastic supporters, the atmosphere was reminiscent of the final minutes before a big boxing match – apart from the fact that there was nobody there to tell them, “Keep it a good, clean fight”.

District 2 candidate Wisut Santikul of the Thai Rak Thai party (TRT) was the first to arrive, followed not long after by incumbents Suwit Sa-Ngiamkul and Chalermluk Kebsub, Democrat Party members representing District 1 and District 2, respectively.

They were accompanied by Democrat Party deputy leader Jurin Laksanavisit, indicating the importance the party attaches to holding Phuket, one of its traditional southern strongholds.

Last to arrive was TRT District 1 candidate Dr Sriyada Palimapan, who arrived with

new husband Saravuth Shinawatra, nephew of the Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Dr Sriyada, a dentist by trade, was trounced by former Democrat Party list member Anchalee Vanich-Thepabutr in the hotly contested battle for the presidency of the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor) last March.

She has since changed her name from Yada to Sriyada, to bring good luck, and also married into Thailand’s most powerful political family. This could prove to be a factor in the race, as public approval of PM Thaksin nationwide has soared following his handling of the tsunami disaster.

The head of the Phuket Election Commission (PEC), Dr Prapa Kayee, said her agency, at Phuket Provincial Hall, would be open all week to accept applications to run in the election, which will take place February 6.

She said five intended polling stations were destroyed by the tsunami, two next to Patong Beach and three at Kamala. The PEC is incorporating the voter registration lists in those places into nearby polling stations and will inform the electorate as to where they should cast their ballots, she said. “That will not be a problem.”

She did, however, address one potential problem – the use by unscrupulous people of the ID cards of registered voters who have been missing since the tsunami hit.

She urged relatives of the missing to inform her office so that their names can be removed from the rolls.

Phuket News
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