A notice calling for all residents in Patong to give their opinions on the boundaries of the three voting districts was issued late last month. The residents had until last week to give their feedback, explained Mr Passakon.
Having residents approve the boundaries for the voting districts for their areas is a standard procedure before any local elections are held, Mr Passakon said.
“The same must be done for all 19 local administrations and municipalities in Phuket,” he added.
“There have been no changes to the boundaries in Patong since the last local elections were held in 2014,” he confirmed.
At this stage it appears there will be no changes this year.
However, Mr Passakorn noted that the final decision on the boundaries to be used for the upcoming local elections will be finalised by the Election Commission of Thailand and later submitted to the Cabinet for approval.
Voters in each of the three voting areas in Patong will elect six councilors for their area and cast votes to directly elect the Patong Mayor, Mr Passakon explained.
According to the Registration Administration Bureau, as of Dec 21 last year there were 21,358 people officially registered as living in Patong, Mr Passakon said.
“Of course not all people registered as living in Patong are eligible to vote as many are not of voting age. I estimate there might be about 10,000 people in Patong who are eligible to vote. We will have a better idea of exactly how many eligible voters there are in Patong later,” he added.
In 2014, the last time any local elections were held in Thailand, former Phuket MP Chalermluck Kebsup won the Patong mayoral election with just 4,390 votes, beating incumbent mayor at the time, Pian Keesin, who garnered just 3,330 votes. (See story here.)
At Mr Passakon’s current estimates, about 5,000 votes still will be enough to secure office as Patong Mayor in a town that generates tens if not hundreds of billions of baht a year in tourism.
Mayor Chalermluck told The Phuket News today (Mar 2) that she was not sure how much money Patong makes in tourism revenues.
Having Patong residents confirm their voting district boundaries is just the latest move on the island in the preparations for upcoming local elections, with Cherng Talay Tambon Administrative Organisation (OrBorTor), Kathu Municipality, Wichit Municipality, Phuket City Municipality and the Phuket PEC itself holding seminars and training sessions to explain the procedures to be followed when holding a local election.
However, asked when local elections will be held, Mr Passakorn said, “I don’t know what date local elections will be held. The actual date has yet to be set by Cabinet, and it might take them many months before they announce when the elections will be held – but they will be held this year.”