Island prepares for major local elections

PHUKET: Elections will be held on November 17 for Wichit, Rassada and Rawai municipalities, which have now been upgraded from tambon administration organization (OrBorTor) to tessbaan tambon status, Phuket Election Commission (PEC) director Supap Akkam told the Gazette today.

In the run-up to the elections, 105 candidates will contest the 12 councilor seats per municipality and eight candidates have signed up to contest presidential positions.

K. Supap said there are currently 55,380 eligible voters in the six voting districts that the three municipalities cover. “The number of voters eligible to vote in the elections will be confirmed on November 6,” he said.

Eligible voters must have lived in the constituencies for at least 100 days before election day, he added.

The two voting districts covered by Wichit Municipality include 25,757 eligible voters and will have 35 polling stations on election day.

Although 26 candidates will contest Wichit Municipality councilor seats, the only presidential candidate is Kreetar Saetan, the former president of Wichit OrBorTor and leader of the local Pattana Wichit (Wichit Development) party.

However, K. Supap explained that K. Kreetar must obtain more than 20% of the total eligible votes to be declared president.

In the Rassada municipality election, four candidates have been confirmed to run for president: Sutas Hongboot and Preecha Jai-ard as well as former OrBorJor councilor leader of the local Rak Rassada (Rassada Conservation) party Suratin Lian-udom and well-known local businessman Somchai Duangkae.

Kosom Apicharttrakoon was denied candidacy by the PEC because of “incomplete qualifications”. However, K. Supap said that K. Kosom has three days to appeal to the Election Commission in Bangkok.

Fifty candidates will contest councilor seats. There are currently 22,080 eligible voters in the two voting districts, in which there will be 26 polling stations on the day.

Former Rawai OrBorTor president and leader of Pattana Rawai (Rawai Development) party Aroon Solos will run against Kraiwoot Koombaan, leader of Rawai Kao Mai (Rawai’s Next Step) party, for the position of Rawai Municipality president.

Twenty-nine candidates will run for the 12 councilor seats.

The two Rawai voting districts include only 7,543 eligible voters and will have 14 polling stations on the day.

Speaking about the December 23 general election, K. Supap said that Phuket currently has 300,737 eligible voters. These will cast two ballots each. The first ballot includes a list of MP candidates, of which two may be selected.

In the second “party list” ballot, political parties each list 10 candidates for a particular voting “region” and voters select the party of their choice based on the lists of candidates.

Phuket falls into party list Region 8 in the upcoming election, which will be the first in which parties supply regional, as opposed to national, lists of party list candidates.

Under the new voting system, the 480-seat parliament will comprise 400 constituency MPs plus 80 party list MPs.

“The Election Commission expects candidates will be able to register from November 12 to 16. Phuket candidates will be able to register at Phuket Community Hall,” K. Supap said.

Eligible voters living in Phuket but who will not be in their registered constituencies at the time of the election will be able to register to lodge postal votes from October 22 to November 22.

“They will need to bring only their identity cards. Although the period for accepting postal votes has yet to be set, we think it will be on December 15 and 16,” K. Supap added.

K. Supap reminded local businesses that it will be illegal to serve alcohol in the three constituencies from 6 pm November 16 to midnight November 17.

On October 27, an alcohol ban effective from 6 pm was imposed on parts of Kamala and Patong where an Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor) by-election place October 28. According to a document issued by the Phuket Election Commission, the ban lasted until midnight October 28.

Kamala and Patong Police told the Gazette that no arrests were made.

The by-election was being held to find a replacement for ex-OrBorJor member Wissanu Dumlak, who resigned. The three candidates for the constituency are Sanit Chukid, Charoon Aksorn and Manas Kasemwichitpong.

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