Thursday, 30 June, 2022

Bangkok votes for new governor for first time in decade

Bangkok went to the polls Sunday in its first governor election in almost a decade, with the ballot viewed as an indicator for a national vote expected within a year.

Around four million people are eligible to vote in the first major poll since Thailand's huge youth-led street protests in 2020 demanding political change and reform to the once-untouchable monarchy.

But daily life rather than politics has dominated the candidates' campaigns, with the leading contenders promising to clear up the congested, polluted and noisy megapolis home to 10 million.

Polling centres opened across Bangkok at 8:00 am (0100 GMT) -- closing at 5:00 pm -- with temperature checks and Covid-19 restrictions at each voting station.

A record 30 candidates are in the running for the top job, throwing their names into the hat eight years after the 2014 coup saw local elections scrapped and the city run by government-appointed leaders.

Results are not formally expected until late Sunday evening and will have to be ratified by the country's electoral commission.