Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Bangkok governor resigns

At first look, it sounds like a nonsensical act - Bangkok governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra has resigned from his post today, to take effect tomorrow just one day before his term would have ended nominally on Thursday. However, this one day will have a bigger consequence for the forthcoming election. In case a governor fulfills his term, the next election has to take place within 45 days after the end of term. However, in case of an early resignation, the election has to take place within 60 days after the resignation - which makes sense to give the Election Commission enough time to prepare the elections to do those preparative steps which could be done in the last days of the nominal term otherwise. But since it is just one day this time, those preparations should be done already and the Election Commission could still choose the original scheduled election day. However it seems
If incumbent Governor Sukkhumbhand Paribatra resigns before completing his term on Friday, the gubernatorial race will take place on March 3 - but if he completes his term, the election will be held on February 17.
The Nation, Ten challenges for next city governor, 2012-01-07
According to Bangkok Post, adding two or three weeks to the election campaign is labeled to increase fairness in the election.
MR Sukhumbhand wanted his resignation to take effect before Jan 10 to allow fair compeition (sic!) in the Bangkok governor election, he said.
Bangkok Post, Sukhumbhand to resign Tuesday, 2012-01-07
There is however one big cloud over the re-election bid of MR Sukhumbhand, who is now facing investigations by the DSI over the extension of the contract with the company operating the Skytrain. Its a kind of deja vu - four years ago Sukhumbhand predecessor Apirak Kosayodhin resigned just one month after being reelected, also due to corruption charges. It will certainly be an interesting campaign.

A very interesting read in preparation to the campaign is the opinion published by Bangkok Post shortly after Christmas.
Bangkok governor, what is the job - other than keeping pet dogs out of public parks and collecting garbage and dumping it in Nakhon Pathom province?
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration Act, BE 2528 outlines the power and role of the Bangkok governor, but other than hiring and firing city officials, everything else is vague and overlaps with the functions of the national government.
When functions are overlapped, budgets are overlapped and very little gets done, but a lot of people get to eat the cake. This isn’t necessarily the fault of the individual governors, but it is a problem of the definition, the status of Bangkok.
Bangkok Post, Bangkok governor, it's an insane job, 2012-12-27

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