Voters reject Itthiphol, Poramet MP bids

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Poramet Ngampichet was narrowly defeated by Kawinnart Takee, 31,247 votes to Poramet’s 28,001.

Pattaya-area voters rejected the city’s former mayor and deputy mayor in Sunday’s lower-house election, choosing instead candidates from the upstart Future Forward Party.

Eight-year Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome lost to Jarat Kumkainam in Chonburi Constituency 6 and recent Deputy Mayor Poramet Ngampichet was defeated by Kawinnart Takee, according to unofficial vote counts released March 25.

The results were a shocking repudiation for two members of the entrenched Kunplome political family, who shunned former alliances to join the junta-backed Palang Patcharat Party, which finished first in the popular vote across the nation.

According to the tally, Jarat collected 33,438 votes compared with Itthiphol 29,144. Kawinnart won 31,247 votes to Poramet’s 28,001.

Palang Patcharat also was rebuffed in Constituency 5, with Future Forward’s Kwanlert Panitchmart defeating military supporter Pantusak Ketwatta 32,490 to 29,715.

Itthiphol Kumplome shows his ID card before casting his vote.

Itthiphol and Poramet’s defeats illustrate how many in the electorate – including large numbers of young voters who had never cast ballots before – rejected establishment politics, especially those whose loyalties flip with whomever is in power.

Poramet is the son, and Itthiphol the brother, of former cabinet ministers in the Thaksin Shinawatra government, but had eschewed the Thaksin-aligned Pheu Thai Party to join the military’s Palang Patcharat. Itthiphol’s older brother, Sonthaya, was appointed Pattaya’s mayor by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha for whom he also had worked as a political advisor. Sonthaya named Poramet as deputy mayor.

Both Poramet and Itthiphol’s families have a history of aligning with whomever sits in the prime minister’s office, be it Thaksin, the yellow shirt-supported Democrat Party or, most recently, through the Kunplome-founded Palang Chon Party.

Both men thanked their supporters and staff via social media, saying they appreciated the opportunity to work in politics for the past 20 years. They pledged to continue working on behalf of Chonburi residents.

Indeed, both could still end up in parliament, either chosen by Palang Patcharat to hold a constituency seat in the lower house or as one of 250 senators the army will select for the upper house.

Nationwide, Palang Patcharat won 7.6 million votes with Pheu Thai earning 7.1 million votes, Future Forward 5.2 million the Democrat Party 3.2 million and Bhumjaithai about 3.2 million.

 Chonburi Election results (unofficial)

Palang Patcharat Party won 5 Parliament seats in Constituency 1, 2, 3, 4, and 8
New Future Party won 3 Parliament seats in Constituency 5, 6, and 7
Constituency 1 Suchart Chomklin, Palang Patcharat Party
Constituency 2 Capt. Dr. Jongchai Wongsaithong, Palang Patcharat Party
Constituency 3 Ronathep Anuwat, Palang Patcharat Party
Constituency 4 Sorawut Nuangjamnong, Palang Patcharat Party
Constituency 5 Kwanlert Panitchmart, New Future Party
Constituency 6 Jarat Kumkainam, New Future Party
Constituency 7 Miss Kawinnart Takee, New Future Party
Constituency 8 Dr. Satira Phukpraphan, Palang Patcharat Party