The Phuket office of the Election Commission of Thailand (PEC) revealed the preliminary winners to The Phuket News Thai-language sister newspaper Khao Phuket this afternoon.
More than 230,000 eligible voters turned out to cast their votes for candidates contesting the positions of mayor or as councillors in the 12 municipalities across Phuket: Phuket City, Patong, Kathu, Wichit, Chalong, Rawai, Rassada, Srisoonthorn, Karon, Cherng Talay, Thepkrasattri and Pa Khlok.
However, PEC Chief Passakon Siripakayapon cautioned that the official results of the election might take 30-60 days to announce.
Among the unofficial winners announced today (Mar 29) was Chalermsak Maneesri, who won the election for Patong Mayor.
Mr Chalermsak, representing Patong Palang Mai Party (Patong New Power Party), was No 1 on the ballot.
Mr Chalermsak was elected Patong mayor in November 2002 after his brother Surasak was removed from office by Interior Minister at the time, Purachai Piemsomboon, for election fraud.
Then Mr Chalermsak and his entire 17-member council were themselves dismissed from office for election fraud in November 2003.
Now Mr Chalermsak finds himself standing on the verge of victory in being elected mayor of Phuket’s busiest tourism town, again.
“Thank you to all the votes from the parents and brothers of Patong who trusted and chose me as the mayor of Patong, Mr Chalermsak posted on the Patong Power Team Facebook page earlier today.
Another surprise result was long-standing Phuket City Mayor Somjai Suwansupana being ousted by former Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation (PPAO, or OrBorJor) councillor Saroj Angkhanaphilas.
Mr Saroj, representing the Rak Phuket Party (Love Phuket Party), was allocated No 2 on the ballot.
“I would like to thank you for every encouragement, all the support from the brothers and sisters of Phuket Municipality.. We (Phuket Municipality residents) all join hands to reach this point with hope… Hope that the quality of our family’s lives and the future of our children is about to change for the better.. Rak Phuket team is involved in making everyone’s hopes come true .. ‘Then we will change the city together.’ Thank you,” Mr Saroj posted online today.
According to the preliminary counts, Aroon Solos has so far kept his seat as Mayor of Rawai, Kreetha Chotiwichphiphat looks set to reclaim his position as Mayor of Wichit, and Chaianan Sutthikul appears to have kept his seat as Mayor of Kathu.
However, Samran Jindaphon appears to have lost his seat as Chalong Mayor to Ms Thanaporn Ongsantiphap of the Ruam Pattana Chalong Party (Chalong Development Together Party), who ran for elections as No 3 on the ballot.
In the remaining municipalities, according to the initial counts, the following candidates have been elected as follows:
Jadet Wicharasorn, Mayor of Karon
Nakharin Yorsengrathas, Mayor of Rassada
Suniran Rachatapruek Mayor of Cherng Talay Municipality
Prasong Trairat Mayor of Thepkasattri
Chalermpol Kerdsup Mayor of Srisoonthorn
Panaya Sampharat, Mayor of Pa Khlok
Staff at the PEC explained that in accordance with election law the PEC will forward the ballots to the Election Commission of Thailand in Bangkok for confirmation of the results, which by law must be announced within 30 days of the election, notwithstanding any complaints filed against candidates.
“The Election Commission will complete the count as soon as possible and announce the election results within 60 days of the election day,” a PEC staffer said.