Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Elections for the province administration organization

Last Sunday and again on next Saturday or Sunday several of the province held elections for the provincial administration organizations (PAO) - both the members as well as the chairman. The PAO is a kind of a provincial parliament, but it has only very limited authorities and thus is not much well-known, most the administrative tasks within the provinces reside with the central authority, by the various local officers sent from the respective ministries or departments in Bangkok. It's similar with the chairman of the PAO, the real leader of the province is the provincial governor sent from the Ministry of the Interior. I still have to research more details on the PAO, like its tasks or history, so the entity will be a topic here again for sure.

Surat Thani was among the 41 provinces who went to vote last Sunday - 15 elected only the PAO, 25 both the PAO and the chairman, and one only the chairman. I was in Surat Thani the first half of April, so I have seen lots of election posters, though much less than much less than before a national election in Bangkok. The candidate of list number 2 in most constituencies is the one endorsed by the Democratic Party, but this is specialty of the south of Thailand as normally the members of the PAO have no party affiliation. I have also seen only very few cars driving around doing election commercials.

The only thing in English about these elections I have found so far is an article in The Nation published on Monday. The Election Commission has nothing about these elections on their English site, while the Thai site lists the provinces which went to vote last Sunday or will go next weekend. I have tried to find the list of constituencies, at least for Surat Thani, but haven't been able to do so, neither the EC nor the province website have such information. So the only things I know are that there are at least 5 constituencies in Mueang district, and that Chaiya district forms a single constituency. For two of the Mueang constituencies I have photos of posters with the list of subdistricts (tambon) or villages (muban) within that constituency. So constituency 2 covers subdistrict Talad, village 5 of Bang Kung and villages 1 and 4 of Makhian Thia. Constituency 5 covers village 1 to 4 of Bang Kung, the full subdistricts Bang Pho, Bang Sai, Bang Chana, Bang Bai Mai and Khlong Chanak.

At the province hall the full list of candidates and some other papers, maybe be the voters directory, were on public display on several movable walls. When I looked around them, I haven't noticed a constituency map either. I have also got myself a leaflet explaining the voters in Surat Thani about this election - guess I will try to translate it, both for training my Thai and for putting something unique here.

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