Tongue-Thai’ed! Part XIV: Sukhumbhand’s second term bid as Bangkok governor – just a joke…!

Originally published at Siam Voices on May 23, 2012

“Tongue-Thai’ed!” encapsulates the most baffling, amusing, confusing, outrageous and appalling quotes from Thai politicians and other public figures – in short: everything we hear that makes us go “Huh?!”. Check out all past entries here.

Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra has been in office since 2009 and has already seen a lot during his tenure. Whether it was the violent red shirt protests of 2009 and 2010, or the floods of 2011. It was also Sukhumbhand who knew how to leave his personal mark on these events by standing out and going against the grain.

Bangkok Governor
Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra (Picture via Bangkok Governor Facebook Page)

During the 2010 red shirts protests, Sukhumbhand met with Thaksin in Brunei to broker a deal to end the protests, which has put him at odds with the then-government of prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his Democrat Party. And during last year’s flood crisis the Bangkok governor tried to profit from the government’s ham-fisted response and relief efforts by portraying himself as the savior of the inner city from the floods, even if it meant having to sacrifice the outskirts and wastie much energy to fight with government officials over the relief efforts, among other embarrassing gaffes.

Now, with the gubernatorial election up next year many are asking whether or not Sukhumbhand will run for office again. These polls could be a bellwether test for the Democrat Party’s dominance over the capital. Even if there are still many months to go to January 2013, he already threw his hat into the ring:

Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra says he will seek a second term because he has unfinished work to accomplish. MR Sukhumband’s four-year term as head of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will end in January 2013. (…)

“If the Democrat Party agrees to select me as its candidate to run in the next Bangkok governor election, I will be ready to run for the post again,” said MR Sukhumbhand.

Democrat spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalsut said MR Sukhumbhand’s early declaration was intended to show his intention to continue working for the people of Bangkok.

Sukhumbhand: I’ll run again“, Bangkok Post, May 19, 2012

But maybe that call was a little bit too soon as the denial came quickly in the following days:

But yesterday, Sukhumbhand admitted he did not really intend to join the election and that what he said before he was a joke. He said if he intended to contest the election, he would make an official announcement in Bangkok.

Democrat Party spokesperson Chavanond Intarakomalyasut said the party hadn’t discussed this issue yet. If the party announced it now, it would disrupt the governor’s duties, he said.

Re-election bid comment was a joke: Sukhumbhand“, The Nation, May 22, 2012

So, Sukhumbhand jumped the gun too early into the election race and now stands at odds with his own party yet again because he couldn’t wait to be officially nominated by the Democrats, even if the opposition Pheu Thai Party has yet to reveal their candidate – rumored to be either MICT minister Anudith Nakornthap or Science and Technology Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi – (yes, the one with the premature evacuation order).

But how will we know then when he’s running for real then…?

If you come across any verbosities that you think might fit in here send us a email at siamvoices [at] gmail.com or tweet us @siamvoices.

Saksith Saiyasombut is a Thai blogger and journalist currently based in Hamburg, Germany. He can be followed on Twitter @Saksith and on Facebook here.