With possible opponent looking on, Itthiphol touts mayoral achievements to business leaders

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Although the official campaign season hadn’t started yet, Acting Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome used the May meeting of the Pattaya Business & Tourism Association to stump for re-election and tout his own achievements.

With Itthiphol’s 2008 opponent Surat “Mike” Mekavarakul, a prominent member of the PBTA, sitting at the head table, Itthiphol highlighted the results of a poll commissioned by his campaign showing a 78% job-approval rating and listing achievements ranging from the national government’s free-education policy to paving over dirt roads.

PBTA member Surat “Mike” Mekavarakul (right) looks on as Acting Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome (2nd left) prepares to begin his re-election speech. PBTA member Surat “Mike” Mekavarakul (right) looks on as Acting Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome (2nd left) prepares to begin his re-election speech.

Surat kept mum during the self-promotion and afterward refused to disclose whether he will again run for mayor later this spring. “There’s been no decision yet. I need more time,” he said.

Itthiphol detailed his track record to business leaders by reading from his “five major policies, seven creations, 13 strategies and 14 urgent policies” résumé.

Among them are improvements to the city’s flood-control infrastructure, the beachfront monorail proposal and development of a city sports arena, which he diverted funds from to announce a controversial beachfront beautification project.

Other projects, such as 15 years of free education, low-income housing and paving of rural roads within four years are projects funded by the national government.

Other achievements warranting his re-election, the mayor said, were work on tourism development, environmental protection and water purification.

“There have been concrete results and we still like a chance to continue pushing of the rest of the projects to completion,” Itthiphol told the PBTA, citing such examples as the also-controversial tunnel running under Sukhumvit and Central roads.

Itthiphol’s term as mayor ended May 4. The law states that an election must be held within 45-60 days therefore June 17 has been set for the elections.  Itthiphol will remain in office, holding the title of acting mayor, until after the next poll.