As reported in the last issue of the Pattaya Times, Democratic Prime Minister candidate Number 10 Abhisit Vejjajiva, who is the current Prime Minister has promised, if elected, to put 10 billion baht a year into a fund to expand the high-speed train system connecting Pattaya to the airport and Bangkok, as well as linking Chonburi, Laem Chabang, Sattahip and Rayong to Pattaya and Bangkok.
Abhisit also pledged to make Laem Chabang a major port city with massive infrastructural overhauls, create new special economic zones with tax incentives in this Eastern Seaboard area, if elected. He may need the support of the Eastern Seaboard and Pattaya to form a coalition governemnt and cabinet.
However, Pattaya and Chonburi and the entire Eastern Seaboard region are the strong-hold for Red Shirts backing ousted Prime Minister Thanksin Shinawatra. His sister Yingluck Shinawatra is opposing Adhisit in the election as candidate Number 1 of the Phua Thai Party.
Local politician Chanyut Hengrakool, who decided not to run as a candidate for Phua Thai is still an active member of the powerful party and a close friend and adviser of Thanksin Shinawatra and his family. Local politician Chanyut believes her election will help Pattaya and the Eastern Seaboard develop further. So either way, no matter which PM candidate is installed, Pattaya and the region will most likely get additional funding for improvement projects and job growth.
The local Phua Thai party recently split and a new political party called the Phalungchon Party (strength of Chon Buri people) was formed just four months ago by under the leadership of the politically powerful Kunplome family.
Now if the Phalungchon Party's candidates dominate in the region as expected their parliamentary votes could help sway the overall votes affording them great political leverage with the Prime Minister, whether they choose to back Abhisit or Yingluck. Phua Thai party candidates will be loyal to Yingluck, but the Phalungchon Party has the flexibility to put their votes behind either candidate after the election when the new government is formed.
Now more than half of all registered voters in Pattaya and Chonburi recently gathered at the Banglamung
School and other polling stations for the Chonburi pre-election day on June 26. Voters flooded the local school
and had to line up for hours to put their votes in the ballot before the official election day July 3.
Pattaya is part of the sixth and seventh constituencies with the sixth consisting of Koh Si Chang, Sriracha, Nong Pla Lai and Naklua and the seventh consisting of Nongprue, Huai Yai and Banglamung. From 8am-3pm, there were 4,065 people who turned out to vote out of the registered 4,881 which is a remarkably high turnout of 83.28%. Outside of Chonburi there were 126,942 people who cast their votes early out of 231,024 registered.
The Election Commission was impressed with the number of voters but were also concerned about those who may have used someone else’s identity as their own. This may foreshadow the possibility of the election results on July 3 being contested. The sixth and seventh constituencies that covers Pattaya sent in many candidates but it looks like a three way battle between the Phua Thai party, the Democrat Party and the Phalungchon Party.
The former mayor of Pattaya Niran, the former Member of Parliament Baramet and the former Senator serving this region Somsak are all candidates for the Phalungchon Party as well as Pattaya Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome's sister-in-law and several other prominent Pattaya and Chonburi politicians.
Most of these well-known and highly respected candidates of the Phalungchon Party were formerly with the Phua Thai party which offers Thaksin Chinawatra's daughter Yingluck Shinawatra as the candidate for Prime Minister against the current Democrat Party Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who took office after a military coup ousted PM Thanksin Shinawatra.
The Phalungchon Party does not have a candidate running for the Prime Minister's office so they could be a strong "swing" voting block to appoint the new Prime Minister if he or she does not have a completed coalition from other parties. It is believed that neither the Democrat or the Phua Thai parties have enough votes in Parliament no matter which candidate wins so they need the help of the smaller parties like the Phalungchon Party.
Political analysts are sure the Phua Thai party ( formerly The People Power Party's - PPP) will not help current Prime Minister Abhisit build a coalition necessary for him to be the Prime Minister again if he wins the most votes. They are "Red Shirts" and totally devoted to their leader-in-exile Thaksin and will support his sister's bid for the Prime Minsiter's spot. She was educated and lived in the USA for many years, as was Chanyut Hengrakool's sons, and has returned to Thailand at the request of her brother Thaksin Shinawatra to run in his place for the top spot.
However, the Phalungchon Party may win as many as seven Parliamentary seats and could use their votes to help select the candidate between the two front runners of the Democratic Abhisit Vejjajiva and Phua Thai's (Thaksin's sister) Yingluck Shinawatra as the vote is expected to be close.