Sunday 14 September 2008

Municipal elections on Koh Samui

Today there are Municipal elections on Koh Samui

The need for these municipal elections comes from the fact that Samui gained Tessaban or City Status. Samui is and still will be part of Changwat Surat Thani or the Province of Surat Thani but can now govern over it's own finances among other, rather than Surat Thani taking all of it and hardly giving back anything. It's a similar set up like Pattaya has in the province of Chonburi.

It has been a long fight to get there and Surat Thani officials tried to prevent this from happening with all their power, they didn't want to lose the goose with the golden eggs.

The actual election today is to vote for a new Mayor to govern Samui. There will be a bit of restructure around Samui, for instance the Pu Yai Baan's or village leaders position will become obsolete but in general I think this is a major step forward in Samui's general development and I hope it will bear fruit and Samui will see vast improvements on it's infrastructure.

At the local government school, next to Wat Plai Laem, under a beautiful and sunny blue sky, today's elections take place between 8 am and 3 pm.

One needs to vote for a party and than for a member in that party, as this sign explains.

The school accommodates two voting districts, one on each side of the playing ground and in front of the actual voting locale, there are boards up with the participants and a list with registered voters for that district.

It's interesting to see how versatile the school is by the many functions it has, besides being just a school.

The short time I went there so my wife could vote, it was very busy and there was a steady flow of people coming and going and for a lot of folks it's another great opportunity to hang out and chat with friends and neighbours.

In the background of this picture you can see the actual ballot boxes.
Tomorrow is Thaa Yai and the socialising will continue. more on this event tomorrow, although it will require a very early get up!



Andy said...

Actually Samui already became a Thesaban in 1999, when all the sanitary districts were upgraded to the lowest thesaban level - thesaban tambon or subdistrict municipality. It was now upgraded to the second level (thesaban mueang or town), while actually at first they targeted to become the top level (thesaban nakhon) - I still don't know why this was changed last minute. With each level the number of tasks as well as the amount of tax money grows. Pattaya is not that good example however, since Pattaya is a special kind of construct outside the thesaban system, though not too much different from the highest thesaban level.

Camille Lemmens said...

Hi Andy,

Thanks for your insightful comments!