Mr Watcharin has acted as the chief of the PPAO since his predecessor Paiboon Upatising succumbed to cancer in August 2015. Since then, the PPAO has been widely criticised for being ineffective in addressing issues directly affecting local residents’ lives.
“I am grateful that a new president will come soon,” Mr Watcharin told The Phuket News.
“After the PPAO election is done and the new president starts working, I will not retire, but I will go back to being PPAO Chief Administrator,” he added.
Mr Watcharin declined to reveal on which date he will retire.
Registration for candidates for the election opened at Phuket Community Hall on Narisorn Rd, Phuket Town, on Monday and will close at 4:30pm tomorrow (Nov 6).
Among the first to register were popular candidates Jirayut Songyot and Rewat Areerob.
Mr Jirayut, 49, has been allocated “No 1” on the ballot. Already a long-serving PPAO councilor, Mr Jirayut is representing the Khon Baan Rao Party (“People from Our House”), which won many seats in the PPAO election eight years ago.
Mr Rewat, 54, has been allocated “No 2” on the ballot. Representing the Phuket Yatdai Party (“Phuket Trustworthy Party”), Mr Rewat is already nearly a household name across Phuket. He has already served the island as a Member of Parliament for the Democrat Party and currently serves as assistant secretary to Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha.
A third popular candidate, Sorawut Palimapunt, has been allocated “No 3” on the ballot.
Mr Sorawut, 48, is representing the longstanding Gao Na Party (“Progress Party”), which today calls itself in English the “Phuket Progressive Movement Party”.
A former candidate for the New Future Party in Phuket in the last national election, Mr Sorawut works as the Southern Region manager of SG Capital Co., Ltd. (SGC).
Registration of candidates this week has run smoothly, with no incident between any supporters of the candidates, said Passakon Siripakayapon, Director of the Phuket office of the Election Commission (PEC).
“There has been great cooperation from both the supporters and the candidates,” he said.
Mr Passakon noted that on Dec 20 there will be 493 polling stations across the island where local residents may cast their votes.
“Please do not forget to exercise your rights at a polling place near your home from 8am-5pm on Sunday, Dec 20,” Mr Passakon urged.