Pian back in Patong hot seat

PATONG: It’s official: more than two months since his apparent election as Mayor in the June 21 town council elections, Pian Keesin can finally take office after his victory was confirmed by the Central Election Commission.

K. Pian, a former mayor of the town who lost office in a council coup in October 2001, will now face a daunting challenge in straightening out the municipality, which has been leaderless for nine months and faces mounting environmental and social problems.

The new mayor’s win over rival Songserm Kepsap of the Patong Progress Party (PPP) was far from a mandate. He won by just 147 votes, or just 2% of the votes cast.

Even more problematic is that fact that his Rak Patong Party is greatly outnumbered in the town council. Fifteen of the 18 council members are aligned with the PPP, which may make it impossible for K. Pian to pass a budget without making serious concessions to his opponents.

That said, in Patong, political alliances tend to be made and broken as regularly as waves breaking on the town’s famed beach.

During the most recent election, for example, K. Pian counted among his political supporters Surasak Maneesri, his former archrival and the man who orchestrated his ouster as mayor in 2001.

Kittipong Thiengkunagrit, Director of the Phuket Election Commission, told the Gazette today that he had heard the election results were approved in Bangkok on August 26, but the confirmation letter had reached Phuket only this morning.

He said the long delay in confirming the election was because of the number of complaints of electoral fraud countrywide that needed to be investigated.

“The CEC confirmed not only the Mayor’s election, but also that of all other 18 town councilors,” he added.

K. Pian could not be reached today for comment on his political resurrection.

Phuket News
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