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Thailand: Surprise Opposition Victory in Bangkok Governor Race

Sukhumbhand Paribatra of the opposition Democrat Party was re-elected as Bangkok governor despite exit polls predicting his defeat in the elections.

Bangkok Pundit provides an initial analysis of the voting numbers:

E. This is also the closest election in terms of narrowest margin (180,000 vs 292,402 in 2004) or % (6.5% vs 12.3% in 2004).

F. The vote for independents drops to less than 300,000 votes or 11.28%. As is happening nationally, Thailand is becoming more of a two-party system.

Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra holding a press conference. Photo by Piti A Sahakorn, Copyright @Demotix (3/3/2013)

Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra holding a press conference. Photo by Piti A Sahakorn, Copyright @Demotix (3/3/2013)

Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra beside former Thailand Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. Photo by Piti A Sahakorn, Copyright @Demotix (3/3/2013)

Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra beside former Thailand Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. Photo by Piti A Sahakorn, Copyright @Demotix (3/3/2013)

Using the #bkkvote hashtag, below are some reactions of Thai netizens

@Tinapotjanank If I were a bangkokian, I would vote for Suharit (no.17) anyway congrats to Sukhumbhand, four more (boring) years…

@tulsathit Oh, before I go, the much-taunted Sukhumbhand seems to have broken Samak Sundaravej's record as the biggest vote gatherer.

@veen_NT Historical Bangkok voter turnout at 64% – good job Bangkokians, do try harder next time.

‏@Saksith If I'm not mistaken, Bangkok and one other province are the only ones where the Governor is elected, the rest appointed.

Praj Kiatpongsan observes the scene in the headquarters of the defeated party:

The atmosphere at the Pheu Thai party headquarters on Petchburi Road turned bitter as some supporters of Pongsapat angrily punched a TV screen, screamed profanity and pointed their fingers at the face of MR Sukhumbhand Partibatra, who was addressing a victory speech live from the Democrat Party headquarters.

Suthichai Yoon urges polling agencies to revise their techniques:

Various polling agencies must now conduct some serious soul-searching and to revise their polling techniques which have now been proven seriously flawed. It would take quite a while before any trust in all those well-known polls could be restored. And they must admit that it's unfair and unprofessional to blame it all on the respondents who have been accused of the pollsters of having “lied” to the volunteers seeking their views.

Bangkokians have spoken, and loudly so…with almost 64% voter turnout, much higher than the last election despite the downpours in certain constituencies this afternoon

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