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Pattaya Daily News

12 January 2009 :: 11:01:17 am 28054

Democrats Sweep Nationwide By-Elections, Bangkok Governor’s Race

BANGKOK, Jan 12 - Thais voting Sunday in Parliamentary by-elections across the kingdom and in Bangkok‘s election for the governorship favoured the Democrat Party and its coalition partners who won two-thirds of the by-elections while Democrat Sukhumbhand Paribatra achieved a convincing victory in Sunday‘s Bangkok governor election.
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According to unofficial results, the three coalition partners — Democrat, Chart Thai Pattana and Puea Pandin parties — swept 20 of the 29 seats being contested for the House of Representatives in by-elections in 22 provinces.

Election Commission (EC) chairman Apichart Sukhagganont told a press conference late Sunday night that unofficial results gave the Chart Thai Pattana Party 10 House seats, the Democrat Party seven seats and the Puea Pandin party just three seats.

On the other side, the two opposition parties — Puea Thai Party and Pracharaj Party – won five and four House seats respectively.

In an ironic twist, a winning candidate of Pracharaj Party supported by the “Friends of Newin” faction is likely to support the government.

The faction was loyal to Newin Chidchob — leader of a group of northeastern MPs who abandoned support for ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and to support the Democrats in forming a new government. Thaksin stalwarts are calling them ‘turncoats’. As a result, the government’s majority was increased to 266 from 245, while the opposition number rose to 206 members of parliament, up from 195.

On receiving the unofficial results, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva thanked voters for the trust they had given the Democrat party and its coalition parties.

He acknowledged that the poll result strengthened his coalition government and create certain stability for the government in the parliament.

However, Mr. Abhisit said the increase in the number of House seats would not affect the allocation of cabinet portfolios among the coalition partners, particularly the Chart Thai Pattana Party as they were calculated earlier during the government formation process. Meanwhile, in the Bangkok gubernatorial election, unofficial results indicated that Mr. Sukhumbhand, one of two candidates of royal lineage, received over 911,000 votes, (44.9 per cent of ballots cast) compared with some 597,000 votes (29.3 per cent) for Yuranan Phamornmontree from the Puea Thai Party.

Natthakorn Devakula placed third with 326,000 votes, followed by Kaewsun Atibodhi with 141,000 votes.

The count for governor was delayed by a complaint that ballot boxes at Phaya Thai district ware not properly sealed after the polls closed.

However, whatever changes registered in the number of voters in three Phya Thai districts would not change the result of the election as Sukhumbhand clearly carried the day with half gain as many votes as his closest opponent.

Mr. Abhisit said that Sukhumbhand would carry on the policies initiated by former governor Apirak Kosayothin

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Politics News

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