Policy over personality, say voters

The policies of individual candidates to improve Bangkok are key to who will be the winner of the May 22 gubernatorial election, a survey by the National Institute of Development Administration, or Nida Poll, reveals.

The poll was conducted from April 4–8 via telephone interviews of 1,325 eligible voters across various levels of education, incomes and occupations in Bangkok to compile their opinions on what they thought were essential factors for candidates to win the election.

Asked whether they thought national-level politics would have any effect on voters’ decisions, 31.25% said “yes, very much”, 30.41% said “no, not at all”, 24.38% said it would have some effect and 13.96% said it would have little effect.

Asked what they thought would be a decisive factor for a candidate to clinch victory in the election, the replies were his or her policies (44.75%), individual qualifications and reputation (28.91%), individual support base (9.36%), the influence of supporters (6.19%), individual campaign lines and strategy (6.04%), support from the mass media (4%) and campaign budgets (0.75%).

Most Bangkok governor candidates run as independents, including former transport minister Chadchart Sittipunt, former Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang and former Bangkok deputy governor Sakoltee Phattiyakul.

Writing on Facebook, Mr Sakoltee unveiled his advisory team members who will help him with three areas of traffic and public transport, public health and culture and tourism.

They are Narisra Limtanakool, a former consultant on public transport with Krungthep Thanakhom and well-versed in Bangkok’s BTS and BRT systems; Dr Patchara Ongjit, one of the country’s leading heart surgeons; and Kritsana Kaewthamrong, former deputy of Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Mr Chadchart on Sunday proposed to increase space for street vendors and allow vendors and residents to have a say in the management of the use of public space for this purpose.

He said the stretch of traders on Soi 69, Rama II Road, is proof that a policy to keep footpaths friendly to pedestrians while allowing street vendors to make a living can be achieved.

It is one of three areas under the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s pilot scheme of shared public space in which street vending does not obstruct footpaths.

Independent candidate Rosana Tositrakul, a former Bangkok senator, on Sunday pledged to increase the ratio of green space in the capital to 9 square metres per person from 6sqm per head now.

She floated an idea of adding green spaces in every district with a budget support of 50 million baht for each district.

Under the proposal, district officials will work with local communities in creating green spaces which could be small public parks or organic farms, she said.