Surasit Nithiwuthworarak wins Chonburi senate election

Friday, 04 April 2014 From Issue Vol. XXII No. 14 By  Jetsada Homklin

Surasit Nithiwuthworarak, who petitioned the Supreme Court to restore his candidacy before early voting began March 23, beat out five other candidates to claim the top spot in the March 30 final ballot.

The former Chart Thai Party MP bested medical graduate Somchai Pattanaanek 92,058 votes to 42,623. Former police Maj. Col. Banthit Khunajak, 63, garnered 26,942 votes for third place. Saengsorn Sunthornsilpachai, 62, a public administration graduate; Kampol Tangekachai, 43, a Ph.D. in business administration; and Vichai Jullawanitpong, 52, a Mahidol University medical graduate, attracted less than 13,000 votes each.

Bars on Walking Street went quiet with most observing the law banning alcohol sales on election night.Bars on Walking Street went quiet with most observing the law banning alcohol sales on election night.

Turnout in Chonburi was the lowest of any province in Thailand, with just 24.99 percent of 1.03 million eligible voters turning up. Many polling places were as quiet as Walking Street and Soi Buakaow, where bars were closed up tight due to legal prohibitions against selling alcohol during elections.

Turnout for senatorial elections typically trails lower-house contests - only 55 percent of Thais voted in the last senate poll in 2008 - but Thailand’s ongoing political struggles were blamed for bringing down interest even farther.

The anti-politician sentiment was evident as 18.7 percent of voters simply voted “no” to all the candidates and another 5.2 percent of ballot were spoiled.

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