Bangkok Election: Urbanites are Worried about the Future

Sukhumbhand Paribatra‘s term as governor of Bangkok expires on January 10, 2013. He is well known for his erratic behavior, one of the most memorable was his promise to sue FIFA for a blunder that Democrat-friendly contractors did with the Futsal Stadium in the city. The rapid growth of Bangkok has a heavy price tag, and the existence of a deeply divided city where accountability of expenditures has led to more questions (and rumors) than development.

Destitution is threatening the labor force, especially Bangkokians, while the fallout of a heavily-flooded city in 2011, thanks to the inefficiencies of Sukhumbhand’s Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) cannot be easily forgotten by many urbanites.

The existence of a special autonomy for Bangkok is a rarity in Thailand’s complex system of provincial governance. The National Government, led by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, has no control over BMA. For all sense and purposes, Bangkok is independent. For the past two terms (8 years), Bangkok has been under the control of the Democrat Party which is presently headed by Abhisit, who is facing a murder charge for his involvement in the violent crackdown in the city a couple of years ago.

While BMA has introduced state-of-the-art public transport system such as the BTS and the MRT, the traffic condition has grown worse under its nose. Bangkok traffic is one of the worse in Asia along with urban pollution and waste disposal. There is barely a street or soi that does not have the taint of exhaust fumes and haze. The city is a chocking city, not a suitable place for the younger generation to live in.

BMA’s budgetary controls are legendary because the amount of taxes collected must be high. There is a population of more than 10 million people squeezed in just a small area. How much taxes are collected and why the secrecy of it strategies in yearly allocation of monies?

BMA is treated like a bank by those controlling city hall, such as the presence of Democrat members working for or waiting for contracts from the governor. The Democrat Party depends on BMA for money. Bangkok being the capital city of Thailand is an economical victory for anyone controlling the BMA. Abhisit and his cronies cannot and will not let go of their stranglehold of this power base. Their political survival depends on Bangkok, and Sukhumbhand.

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