National politics overshadowing Bangkok election

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Associated Press

Posted on March 2, 2013 at 5:02 AM

Updated Saturday, Mar 2 at 5:33 AM

BANGKOK (AP) — Bangkok voters will go to the polls Sunday to choose the city's new governor in a local election overshadowed by political divisiveness that has wracked Thailand for much of the past eight years.

The major rivals are Democrat party candidate and former Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra and political newcomer Pongsapat Pongcharoen from the ruling Pheu Thai camp.

Bangkok is one of the few strongholds that the Democrats did not lose to Pheu Thai in the 2011 general election, thanks to the capital's pro-establishment middle-class and elite voters.

Polls, however, show Sukhumbhand has fallen behind Pongsapat, whose Pheu Thai party draws most of its support from the rural and urban poor.

The national poll body estimates that more than 60 percent of the 4.3 million eligible voters will vote Sunday.

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