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After two days of meetings, the Election Commission (EC) has finally approved the Bangkok gubernatorial election result with Chadchart Sittipunt the winner with 1,386,215 votes.

Chadchart Sittipunt poses for photos with his supporters in November 2019. 

On 31 May, EC Chair Ittiporn Boonprakong presided over an online meeting, continuing the discussion from the previous day about approving the results of the election that took place on 22 May. The Commission was considering a complaint by Srisuwan Janya, a social activist, about Chadchart’s pledge to have his campaign banners made into tote bags. The complaint claimed that this was an act of promising something to voters and therefore a form of vote-buying.

At around 15.00, many Thai media reported that Chadchart’s victory was officially approved , meaning that he has officially become the Bangkok Governor.

In the elections for the Bangkok Council, the EC has approved 45 out of 50 contest, with the remaining 5 still undergoing scrutiny. Out of the 5, 2 have Pheu Thai Party candidates with most votes, 1 with Move Forward Party, 1 with Palang Pracharat Party, and 1 with Thai Sang Thai Party.

How the Bangkok elections set the stage for a national showdown 

Approval of Chadchart’s victory was expected on Monday after the EC had finished its meeting, but it was postponed for one more day. Netizens’ anger and suspicions over the delay provoked a hashtag #WhatthefuckiswrongwithEC (#กกตเป็นเหี้ยอะไร).

Furious calls to the EC hotline 1444 were reported on Monday, asking why the decision was so slow. 

Chadchart clinched the victory with an overwhelming majority that smashed voting records in the capital, securing victory in every constituency. Trailing behind Chadchart were Democrat Suchatvee Suwansawat, Move Forward Party’s Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn, and former Bangkok Deputy Governor Sakoltee Phattiyakul who played a key role in the street protests organized by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, or PDRC, which helped set the stage for the military coup in 2014. 

Bangkok had its last gubernatorial election in 2013. The following year, the military seized power and suspended all local elections. The junta led by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha appointed Pol Gen Aswin Kwanmuang, now 71, as Governor of Bangkok in 2016 by a special decree. Aswin quit his post in March to run in the election – but only after having served longer than most elected Governors.

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