NAKHON PATHOM — A cabinet member on Thursday hailed the pro-government coalition’s victory in yesterday’s by-election as a proof of the public’s confidence in PM Prayuth Chan-ocha’s leadership.
Energy minister Sontirat Sontijirawong said poll results in Nakhon Pathom province, where a pro-government party took an MP seat from the Future Forward Party, shows that voters see how Prayuth has been working hard and solving economic problems.
“The result of this by-election reflects the people’s trust in Prayuth’s government,” Sontirat, who also serves as sec-gen of the pro-military Phalang Pracharath Party, told reporters. “By having 255 seats on the government coalition, it would be easier to pass laws.”
In a victory that surprised many observers, Padermchai Sasomsap of the Chartthaipattana Party defeated Future Forward’s Pairatchote Chantharakachorn in the by-election in Nakhon Pathom’s Constituency 5 on Wednesday.
Unofficial vote count showed that Padermchai came first with 37,675 votes, followed by Pairatchote who gathered 28,216 votes and Surachai Anuttato of the Democrat Party with 18,425 votes.
“I would like to say thank you to everyone who voted for me in this by-election. We’re all family in Nakhon Pathom, wherever we came from,” Padermchai said after the results were announced.
Future Forward Party saw fewer votes in their favor than the March 24 general election, when the party’s Jumpita Chantharakachorn won the constituency seat with 34,164 votes. Chartthaipattana’s Padermchai secured only about 12,000 votes at the time.
Future Forward sec-gen Piyabutr Saengkanokkul blamed the poor timing of the by-election, which was scheduled mid-week on Chulalongkorn Memorial Day, for the party’s defeat.
“We believe that there’s less votes for us because of our strongholds, who are factory labors, could not come back to vote in the middle of the week,” Piyabutr said.
The by-election was held after Nakhon Pathom MP Jumpita resigned due to health issues. Her husband, Pairatchote Chantharakachorn, stepped in trying to take her place on the same ticket.
Seven parties ran for the by-election. Heavyweights Pheu Thai Party and Phalang Pracharat Party did not place a candidate to let their coalition partners compete in their strongholds.
Although there was less voter turnout than the general election, the Election Commission said Wednesday’s voting took place in a “honest and fair” manner.
Sixty-three percent of the 143,497 eligible voters cast their ballots on Wednesday. The official result is expected to be announced within the next 60 days.