More polling stations will be added to reduce congestion of voters under the COVID-19 ‘New Normal’ measures, PPAO Acting Chief Watcharin Patomwatthanapong announced yesterday (Nov 24).
The PPAO elections to be held throughout the country on Dec 20 will be the first local elections held in Thailand for eight years, since the National Council for Peace Order (NCPO), headed by Army General Prayut Chan-o-cha, took control of the country in May 2014, he said.
“Before this, holding a local election cost about B12-14 million each time, but this year we expect to spend about B26mn as we have to increase the number of polling stations from 370 to 496 in order reduce congestion and allow people to maintain social distancing,” Mr Watcharin said.
“We will have about 600 voters attend each polling station,” he added.
“The almost-doubled budget will be spent on the cost of equipment and hiring staff at each polling station. The central government has already provided the budget to the Phuket office of the Election Commission [PEC] and other relevant officials,” Mr Watcharin explained.
“The PEC will work with the PPAO, municipalities and local tambon administrations [OrBorTor] to hold training for polling station staff and to publicise information about the election to the public,” he said.
“On Dec 20, I want every Phuket resident to use your right to vote for the candidate you like, from 8am to 5pm. Elect a good candidate to develop our island,” he said.
“Within 15 days after the election results have been announced, the Phuket Governor will meet with the new PPAO president and councilors to vote for the position of Council Chairman. Then, about the middle of January, they will take office,” Mr Watcharin explained.
Registration for election candidates closed on Nov 6, with five candidates entering the race to be elected PPAO President, including popular local politicians Jirayut Songyot of the Khon Baan Rao Party, Rewat Areerob of the Phuket Yatdai Party and Sorawut Palimapunt of the Phuket Progressive Movement Party.
In total, 77 people registered their candidacy for being elected to the PPAO Council.
Incumbent PPAO Acting Chief Mr Watcharin has already announced that he will not register his candidacy to contest the position of PPAO President in the upcoming PPAO election.