Apirak won't serve as caretaker
SUPOJ WANCHAROEN & AEKARACH SATTABURUTH
Bangkok governor Apirak Kosayodhin has decided not to serve as a caretaker after the end of his four-year term on Aug 28 so that he can prepare for his re-election in early October.
Mr Apirak told the press yesterday that he would stay in office only until Aug 28, the last day of his four-year tenure, to avoid criticism he might want to dodge an election campaign restriction.
Under the election law, a governor who serves a full term is banned from distributing party paraphernalia and persuading people to vote during the 60-day period before the expiry of his term.
An early resignation would have freed him of the restriction.
However, after serving his full term next Thursday, Mr Apirak will not take up the role of acting governor and will have to say so in writing as demanded under the law.
He needs to do so to escape criticism he was abusing his authority and taking advantage of other candidates.
He will seek a second term on behalf of the Democrat party of which he is a deputy leader.
The first thing he plans to do after ending his term is take his son to the US to further his studies there.
For now, his deputy Wallop Suwandee is the acting governor.
After next Thursday, City Clerk Pongsak Semsant will take over as acting governor until the new elected governor takes office.
Mr Pongsak said yesterday there would be no legal problem if Mr Apirak refuses to continue as acting governor.
According to Mr Pongsak, the candidacy application period is from Sept 1-5 at the City Hall and the election will be held on Oct 5.
Suwat Wannasirikul, People Power party (PPP) MP for Bangkok, said his party would field a candidate in the race just to see how popular the party was in the capital at the moment.
The party has approached Prapas Chongsanguan, the governor of the Mass Rapid Transit Authority, but he has not responded to the invitation so far.
According to Mr Suwat, Plodprasop Suraswadi is keen to join the race under the party banner, but the party will wait for an answer from Mr Prapas first, as it is more keen on having him as their candidate.