11 July 2024

Chadchart Sittipunt officially became the next Bangkok Governor today (Tuesday) at 3pm, after the Election Commission (EC) finally certified the results of the Bangkok gubernatorial election, which the independent candidate won by a landslide on May 22.

The announcement came after a delay, due to a complaint filed with the EC by political activist Srisuwan Janya. He had questioned whether Chadchart, a 56-year-old former transport minister, had a hidden agenda when he used a vinyl fabric in the making of his campaign posters and whether the fabric has been recycled into bags and aprons. Srisuwan also accused Chadchart of “insulting the bureaucratic system”.

The delay in the certification of Chadchart’s win drew much ire on social media, pushing the Thai hashtag asking what is wrong with the EC to a top trending hashtag since yesterday. The hashtag itself has attracted over 165,000 tweets so far.

Meanwhile, the head of the Pheu Thai party, Chonlanan Srikaew, claimed that the EC failing to certify Chadchart’s win will damage people’s trust in the democracy. He also added that Chadchart’s landslide victory indicates that people want to escape the current crises.

Former gubernatorial candidate of the Move Forward Party, Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn, also posted on his Facebook page, questioning the delay of the certification and asking whether the EC’s role is to encourage a fair and transparent election or were they assigned by a dictatorship to obstruct fair elections.

The EC’s hotlines had been swamped with calls since the office opened at 8am this morning, with the electorate voicing frustration and anger over the delay in the endorsement of the Bangkok gubernatorial election result.

Callers asked why the EC had waited until the afternoon to meet to consider the election result, whether the EC will endorse the election result and why the EC had to accept the complaints filed against Chadchart by Srisuwan.

It was reported that some of the frustrated callers verbally abused officials who handled their calls.

The new Bangkok governor has long been popular among younger urbanites for his down-to-earth personality. With his popular technical savvy and dynamism, he had already started working to fix many of Bangkok’s problems, before the official result was announced today. His name plate has already been put up at his City Hall office.

Inauguration ceremonies for the new governor will take place tomorrow morning.