Pattaya Mayor Ittipol Khunploem Selected by Bangkok Post "Best-Known Politician" Amongst "Young Leaders Shaping Thailand's Future"
Pattaya Mayor Ittipol Khunploem is probably Thailand's best-known politician aged under 40. Born into a Chon Buri political dynasty, Ittipol learned the ropes watching his father, former Muang Saen Suk Municipality mayor Somchai, and assisting his older brother Sonthaya, a multi-time MP.
Sonthaya instilled in his little brother the importance of helping the needy, leading to Ittipol’s people-centric political model.
Ittipol, who leads the Rao Rak Pattaya (We Love Pattaya) group, was elected as Pattaya mayor for a second term on June 17, 2012, receiving almost 22,000 votes out of nearly 70,000 eligible voters in Pattaya.
This victory can be seen as proof that most city residents are satisfied with his performance in presiding over one of Thailand’s most popular resort destinations over the past four years.
Burapha University in Chon Buri province recently conducted a survey of local people, asking them how they felt Ittipol had performed in his first term as Pattaya major. The poll found nearly 79% of the respondents were satisfied with his performance and vowed to back him and his team to administer the city.
According to the poll, Ittipol had performed his duties in a straightforward and transparent manner.
Poll respondents also praised him as a young administrator who applied a people’s participation concept to his work.
Between 2001 and 2004, Ittipol served as MP for Chon Buri under the now-dissolved Chart Thai banner, but four years ago when contesting his first Pattaya mayor poll he announced he was stepping down from national politics.
He said he wanted to focus on his local community and has proved remarkably successful. Ittipol said his switch from national to local politics was spurred by his enthusiasm to see Pattaya affirm its status as a prime tourism and investment destination.
Furthermore, he wanted to clean up the city’s image by eradicating social problems and drug use there. He said he wanted to achieve this so local residents, businessmen, vendors, hotel and restaurant operators, and others could enjoy a better quality of life.
Over the past four years, the young mayor has initiated many projects to develop the city and its infrastructure to cope with the increasing number of local and foreign tourists. He had often flown overseas to invite foreign investors and tourists to travel to Pattaya.
To begin his second term, Ittipol launched a campaign called “Pattaya New Look,” aimed at ensuring tourists remain safe during their stay in the city.
Ittipol said the campaign will instill confidence in developers and property investors that their investments in Pattaya have great potential and that the city will continue to grow.
“We want to continue promoting Pattaya as one of the most important tourist destinations in the world,” he said.
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