6 June 2024

As we count down towards the highly-anticipated election of a new Bangkok Governor on May 22nd, which will be the first time in nine years, candidates have been intensifying their campaigning, hoping to take over Aswin Kwanmuang’s position.

Here’s a summary of what each contender is offering to persuade voters to give them a chance to revamp Thailand’s capital.

Bangkok’s 9 Good Things – Chadchart Sittipunt

The independent candidate and former Transport Minister, who seems to be leading in various polls, announced as many as 200 policies under nine main headings, naming them the “9 Good Things”.

1. Good Safety: Creating a risk map showing locations at risk of crime, establishing command centres to deal with disasters

2. Good Health: Improving public health centres and clinics, implementation of telemedicine and developing dust-free “Clean Air” areas

3. Good Environment: Increasing green spaces, tackling air pollution by setting up a team to probe into the root causes of PM2.5 dust, supporting the electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem, planting more trees and improving waste sorting

4. Good Education: Free tuition, free uniforms, employing better qualified teachers in schools, improving their welfare and allowing students to use their campus to enhance their creativity during the weekends

5. Good Management: Budget allocation, wherein citizens can decide for themselves and evaluate their own district officers and the Bangkok Governor

6. Good Transportation: Installing an intelligent traffic management system, improving 1,000kms of pavements and increasing safe bicycle parking places

7. Good Structure: Revamping urban planning, improving the drainage system, arranging appropriate zones for street hawkers and developing a “New City” concept in suburban areas

8. Good Economy: Improving the livelihoods of market vendors with access to funds, enhancing “hi-tech” businesses, such as e-Sports and e-Commerce.

9. Good Creativity: Organising outdoor art exhibitions and street shows and creating multi-function public spaces throughout the city

Bangkok, a city where everyone is “equal” – Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn

The Move Forward Party candidate has vowed make changes to ensure equality with 12 policies.

1. Increase welfare allowances for the elderly, from 60 baht to 1,000 baht per month. 1,200 baht per month to be allocated for childcare and disabled people

2. Free vaccinations for all citizens in Bangkok, whether it be influenza, dengue or lung inflammation. Enhance community health centres to become free vaccination centres

3. Allow budget allocation where citizens can decide for themselves, to put an end to the “patronage” system, with 500,000-1 million baht per year for each local community, 50 million baht per year for district offices and 200 million baht per year for the BMA

4. Increase the number of affordable residences in the capital, with the construction of 10,000 units within four years

5. Reduce the cost of living, especially transportation costs, higher-quality buses, cheaper sky train tickets, at 15-45 baht for all routes, as well as improving transfer between buses, the sky train and boats

6. Increase garbage collection fees collected from large shopping malls by tenfold and use the money to improve the collection of household waste, as well as improving waste disposal locations and reduce the odour emitted by refuse handling plants

7. Invest five million baht each in child day care centres to improve their quality to match that of private day care centres

8. Improve the education system so children “can freely follow their dreams”, such as by investing in high-quality online education, creating bully-free schools and encouraging learning outside of school

9. Revamp canals and drainage by clearing pipelines to improve the water flow.

10. Convert unused land into public parks and provide a safe public space for demonstrations

11. Improve pavements and pedestrian crossings across Bangkok. Stalls are prohibited on pavements less than 3.2 metres wide and will be put in pre-arranged areas

12. Reduce corruption with an “if there’s bribery, inform the governor” scheme, enhance open government partnership and launch a website where procurement details can be examined by the public

Change Bangkok, we can do it! – Suchatvee Suwansawat

Despite being a newbie in Thai politics, the Democrat party candidate and former rector of King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL) announced five main policies to change Bangkok.

1. As an engineering expert, fix issues such as city flooding, traffic jams and the collapse of buildings

2. Improve the quality of education in schools under the BMA

3. Improve the public health system, particularly with health centres, and the handling of COVID-19

4. Install “smart” utility poles, which includes solar cells, CCTV cameras and air quality detectors, to monitor safety, traffic congestion and air pollution.

5. Find ways to prevent Bangkok from sinking due to rising sea levels

Bangkok can be improved – Sakoltee Phattiyakul

Another independent candidate and former deputy Bangkok governor has proposed six main policies for transforming Bangkok into a “happy & healthy city”. He believes, however, that such policies require transparent budget allocation and management.

1. Public Transport: Deploying electric-vehicle (EV) boats and the extension of sky train lines

2. Public Health: Implementation of smart clinics and telemedicine, development of 11 hospitals under the BMA so they can become specialised

3. Education: Improving the quality of all schools under the BMA so that they are on a par in terms of quality, increase bilingual schools in which English and Chinese are taught, reduce the “burden” on teachers to increase the quality of teaching

4. Environment, safety, water drainage and urban planning: Installing more CCTV cameras using AI technology, enhancing safety for disabled people and the elderly, creating at least one public park in each of the city’s 50 districts

5. Digital Transformation: Using a Bangkok digital infrastructure system to improve the working system for government officials and the use of government data

6. Economy, society and tourism: Promote walking streets in all 50 districts and important festivals. Support the “street food” culture without getting in pedestrians’ way

No corruption, Bangkok will change – Rosana Tositrakul

Putting an end to corruption is the former senator and independent candidate’s key mission in her campaign, as she strongly believes that this will lead to these significant changes:

1. 3,000-baht pension/month for each pensioner

2. The suspension of the controversial BTS concession, with the ticket price reduced to only 20 baht for the whole route.

3. Free Fah Talai Jone herbal and other Thai medicines so people can live with COVID-19 and resume their businesses

4. Increase budget allocation up to 50 million baht per district, for which people can decide what needs to be fixed, including creating more green spaces

5. Reviving the “Venice of the East” project by dredging and improving all 1,600 canals across Bangkok

6. Setting up funds for the installation of solar-cell roofing, which will save electricity costs for each household by up to 500 baht per month

7. Installation of 500,000 CCTV cameras to make Bangkok safe both on land and water

8. Upgrade 69 health centres in Bangkok to be 24-hour hospitals

“Bangkok must move on” – Aswin Kwanmuang

The junta-appointed governor hopes to be (finally) elected by the people with his promise to continue where he left off with eight policies.

1. Continue to fix the city’s flooding. He claims that locations at risk of flooding have reduced from 24 to 9 and that he will continue to reduce them

2. Continue to increase convenience for citizens, where people can use pavements safely with public transport that is well-connected and convenient for all commuters

3. Improve the quality of healthcare and medical services which will be inclusively accessible to all citizens and cover all areas of the capital

4. Improve the capital’s environment with the increase of green spaces, clean canals and proper waste management

5. Improve the quality of education and, thereby, the chance of employment

6. Increase public safety by decreasing number of crimes and improve preparations for natural disasters

7. Transform Bangkok into a digital city, where people can get quicker, easier and more transparent access to government services

8. Increase welfare for all age groups and accessible services for all communities

By Nad Bunnag, Thai PBS World