Kathu Mayor contenders face off for Phuket election

PHUKET: Hundreds of people turned out at the Kathu Municipality offices yesterday in support of their preferred candidates for the upcoming election for Kathu Mayor and the Kathu Municipal Council to be held on November 18.

Running for re-election is Chaianan Sutthikul and his *Rak Kathu (“Kathu protectors”) party.

Leading the charge against Mr Chaianan is two-time former Kathu Mayor Prasert Khaokijpaisarn and his Kathu Pattana (Kathu development) party. Mr Prasert was elected to his first four-year term as Kathu Mayor in 2000 and re-elected in 2004.

Both mayoral candidates led their parties in registering candidates to contest seats in all three voting districts in the Kathu municipal area.

Peera Sukyiran is so far the only independent candidate to contest a seat on the council, registering his candidacy for Kathu electorate number one.

All other potential candidates have until Sunday (October 21) to register their candidacies.

As many of the candidates arrived before the office opened on the first day of registration yesterday, in accordance with Election Commission rules, they were all entitled to draw lots to determine their ballot numbers.

The draw was overseen by Jatupong Kaewsai, who is the chief administrative officer at Kathu District Office and also the nominated “president” of the ad hoc committee assembled to conduct the election.

Acting as witnesses were Phuket Election Commission Director Kittipong Thiengkunakrit, Thung Thong Police Superintendent Kraithong Chanthongbai and other officials.

In the mayoral election race, Mr Prasert drew the favorable ballot number one. Mr Chaianan received ballot number 2.

For the council election, Mr Peera, the independent candidate, drew ballot number one for the electorate number one. For that same electorate, candidates from Kathu Pattana party received ballot numbers two through seven and Rak Kathu party candidates were allotted ballot numbers eight through 13.

For electorates two and three, Kathu Pattana party candidates were given ballot numbers one through six and Rak Kathu candidates were given ballot numbers seven through 12.

“During the past four years, I have studied how best to develop Kathu over the next four years. I have also discovered that over the past four years there have been no major developments,” Mr Prasert told the crowd.

“I also promise there will not be vote buying. My slogan is to develop complete strategies and to make sure that every single baht of taxpayers’ money is spent on worthy projects,” Mr Prasert added.

Mr Chaianan said, “My campaign focuses on education, public health infrastructure, sports and getting the community ready for the AEC in 2015.

“Over the past four years, I have launched several projects. If I am re-elected, I will continue them and create new projects under the slogan, ‘Livable town keeping pace with development’,” he added.

Teerapong Assawadarakorn, Chief Administrative Officer at Kathu Municipality, told the Gazette that he was hoping for a good voter turnout on polling day.

“In previous elections, not many people have shown up to vote. But this time we are hoping to get about 65 to 70 per cent of the 7,000 eligible voters in each electorate to turn up and cast their ballots,” he said.

In accordance with the Election Act, as the election date has been set for Sunday, November 18, there will be a ban on selling alcohol within the Kathu municipal area from 6pm Saturday, November 17, through to midnight on November 18.

The affected area includes; from Wat Samkong temple on the bypass road just north of Tesco Lotus, to the Phuket Mining Museum behind Loch Palm Golf Club, to just before the Patong City sign on Patong Hill down to the Bang Wad Reservoir.

* NOTE: Chaianan Sutthikul’s Rak Kathu (“Kathu protectors”) party is not associated with Patong Mayor Pian Keesin’s Rak Patong (Love Patong) party. The word “Rak” in Rak Kathu uses the short form of the Thai word raksa (to protect). The spelling of rak (love) and rak (to protect) as the short form of raksa make the two words sound identical, but critically different in meaning (as different as “night” and “knight” in English).

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

Phuket News
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