It’s official: Deputy police chief to run in Bangkok election

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BANGKOK, Jan 14 – Pol Gen Pongsapat Pongcharoen announced his resignation from the national police force today – his first step in contesting the Bangkok governorship in the upcoming election.

The deputy national police chief officially informed Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at Government House this morning of his political endeavour and readiness to run in the city election, set for March 3. He holds a concurrent post of secretary general of the Narcotics Control Board.

“I told her my personal decision in leaving the police service to which I have been attached for over 35 years. I admitted to her that I’m not a politician and I’m starting from scratch,” he said.

“I’m determined to serve Bangkok which is also the policy of Pheu Thai party. I want to return happiness to Bangkok people. I want to create smiles on the face of every Bangkokian.”

He quoted the premier as expressing her desire to see Bangkok being developed as the hub of the ASEAN Economic Community.

He is contesting in the polls against Sukhumbhand Paribatra, a member of the rival Democrat party, who had been at the helm of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) for the last four years. Mr Sukhumbhand officially resigned from the BMA last week to pave the way for an election within 60 days as stipulated by the law.

Gen Pongsapat said he will officially hand in his resignation after the Election Commission (EC) announced the election date. The EC has yet to make an official announcement though it is tentatively set for March 3.

Citing the advantage of smoothly coordinating with the central government (if a Pheu Thai member is elected), he said the strength of a “seamless co-administration” with the government will be the focus of his election campaign.

He said he will refrain from personally attacking others while he himself will be ready for any personal onslaught against him, adding that he will go ahead with his campaign as a solo candidate until the Pheu Thai party selects candidates for his deputies.

He is scheduled to bid farewell to officials of the Narcotics Control Board tomorrow after which he will apply for official membership in the Pheu Thai party and announced his vision statement to Pheu Thai MPs, city and district councillors. The prime minister will formally announce his Bangkok candidacy later in the day and kicked off his first election campaign on Wednesday.

Democrat campaign manager Ong-art Klampaiboon, also a listed MP in the Lower House, welcomed the deputy national police chief into the local political arena.

He said the Democrat party was not focusing on vying against Gen Pongsapat but rather competing with itself in working for Bangkok people.

The Democrats launch their first campaign this afternoon in Bangkok’s Chinatown — Yaowaraj Road – one of its strongholds in the capital where it has made clean sweeps in most national and gubernatorial elections.

Mr Ong-art announced the Democrat party’s policy of upgrading Yaowaraj as “ASEAN Chinatown” and developing Bangkok as a “City of Happiness” with better mass transport service for the public’s convenience.