KATHU: With only eight days to go, the contest for 12 seats on the Kathu Municipal Council is becoming increasingly heated. On Wednesday, Somwong Torwong, candidate number 10 of the Kathu Ruamjai Party, was disqualified because it was found he is registered as living in Patong, not Kathu. As the application deadline was last month, Kathu Ruamjai, led by Suthep Sanguanpanont, has therefore been left with no choice but to field its remaining 11 candidates, ensuring that the opposing Pattana Kathu Party, which has a full card of 12 candidates, will secure one seat unopposed. But Pattana Kathu’s campaign has not been without its problems. The leader of the party, Prasert Kaokijpaisarn, has been accused of moving people from outside the tambon into houses that he has for rent in the area. As a result, say his accusers, the number of eligible voters in Tambon Kathu now stands at around 9,000, compared with only 8,000 for the OrBorJor election held on February 5. “Personally, I think that the two sides are just throwing mud at each other as is usual in most elections,” said Somsak Sanyanuphap, Kathu District Chief Officer. “There is no concrete proof that the people just moved in to influence the outcome of the election. “A lot of people working in Patong live in [Tambon] Kathu. These people are not from Phuket, and recently there has been a continuous drive from the central and provincial authorities to get them to register properly based on where they actually live and work. “So I’d say, yes, we have had a rise in voter numbers, but it could very well be for natural reasons.” The Kathu Municipal Council election will take place on June 10, from 8 am to 3 pm.
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