Thai election: Big names fall by the wayside

Following up on some themes of the earlier Thai planting, I continue reading items from the English-language Thai press about the election outcome and the electoral system. One item from the Bangkok Post‘s general news section, 24 December, caught my eye with the headline, “Big names fall by the wayside.”*

I am going to quote most of the news item below. It shows the hazard parties faced due to the smaller list-tier magnitudes (compared to the former system, with its 100-seat nationwide list district) and the ban on dual nomination (i.e. a candidate had to run in either tier, but could not run in both).

Puea Pandin party leader Suvit Khunkitti and Matchimathipataya party leader Prachai Leophairatana are unlikely to make it to parliament. Mr Suvit was earlier named by deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra as a possible alternative prime minister if Samak Sundaravej, the People Power party leader, faced strong opposition.

Mr Suvit, who stood in constituency 3 of Khon Kaen province, was running in fourth place in unofficial poll results last night behind three PPP candidates.*2

The constituency has three seats up for grabs (MNTV: a voter may give up to three nominal (candidate) votes).

Puea Pandin party is expected to be an important component in the formation of a coalition government.

Mr Suvit and his party yesterday abruptly postponed a press conference after their poor polling results.

Mr Prachai is also disappointed with the outcome for his party.

He put his name on top of the party list for the proportional representation vote in election zone 6, covering Bangkok, Samut Prakan and Nonthaburi.

But the 10 seats available in the zone went to other parties: the Democrats, which won five seats, PPP, four seats, and Puea Pandin, one seat.*3

Several other big-name or veteran politicians also look in danger of failing to get in, based on unofficial results.

They include secretary-general of Ruam Jai Thai Chart Pattana, Pradit Phataraprasit, who is a list candidate for election zone 2; secretary-general of Matchimathipataya party, Anongwan Thepsuthin, who is a list candidate for election zone 1; and two Chart Thai deputy leaders, Chongchai Thiengtham and Nikorn Jamnong, who are list candidates for zones 7 and 8 respectively.

Mrs Anongwan, a former executive of the now-disbanded Thai Rak Thai party, said she believed voters were confused about voting procedures.*4

Former actress and MP Janista Liewchalermwong, better known ”Bam”, also failed to get a seat. She was Chart Thai’s best chance of getting a constituency seat in Bangkok. In constituency 5 where she ran, PPP candidates won all three seats.*5

That’s one for the party list “clipping file,” for sure!

1. This came in a Google News alert, but the link is no longer valid. I read it through the cached page.

2. He has 93,161 votes; the third Peoples Power candidate has 98,486. Pua Paendin also ran another candidate, who is in fifth place with 83,515. Two other elected Peoples Power candidates each won more than 103,000 votes.

3. The party actually does not appear to have come very close to winning in that zone.

4. Not likely; rather, parties just did not have as many safe slots to go around as before.

5. She had less than half the votes of the last winner, also finishing well behind three Democrats. Nonetheless, an interesting effort by a minor party to exploit a celebrity personal vote. She won 1.6 times the votes of the second Chatthai (Chart Thai) candidate and almost 2.4 times the vote of the third candidate of the party.

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