Bangkok votes for new governor first time in decade
With thirty candidates running, millions head to polling stations for Bangkok's first elections in almost ten years.
Bangkok welcomes polls on Sunday, from 8:00 am till 5:00 pm, for its first governor election in almost a decade.
Since Thailand's youth-led protests in 2020, demanding political reform to the untouchable monarchy, around four million people are now eligible to vote in the first major poll.
Political campaigns have focused on promises to clear up the congested, polluted, and noisy megapolis home to 10 million citizens.
"I am not excited about the election. It will hardly change Bangkok, but I vote for a person who I think can change Bangkok, though a little bit. I do hope this candidate will make some change," said 28-year-old Nat, who gave only his nickname, after he voted.
Thirty candidates are running for the head role, eight years after the 2014 coup saw local elections, and the city was then run by government-appointed leaders.
First thing Sunday morning, frontrunner and independent candidate Chadchart Sittipunt was seen riding his bike to his local polling station to cast his ballot.
Political analyst Thitinan Pongsudhirak of Chulalongkorn University believes the outcome would give some idea of how the capital aims to back candidates of the royalist and military establishment that dominates Thai politics.
"Bangkok is not Thailand, but the Bangkok governor election this time will be a bellwether for bigger polls to come," he told AFP this week.
Results are not formally expected until late Sunday evening and will have to be ratified by the country's electoral commission.