Sun, Nov 25, 2007 - Page 5 News List

Thai politician pulls all-nighter ahead of next month's polls

`ALL WALKS OF LIFE' The leader of the Democrat party planned to stump for support from drivers, transsexuals and monks in his 24-hour campaign blitz


Seeking the votes of night watchmen, drivers, sex workers and cabaret performers, a leading Thai politician launched a 24-hour campaign blitz on Friday to mingle with voters on a variety of night shifts ahead of next month's elections.

"My goal is to campaign around the clock to meet people from all walks of life," Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said after starting his tour with a morning walk through Rayong, an industrial town south of the capital, Bangkok.

Abhisit is considered a front-runner in the race. His Democrats were the main opposition party under the 2001 to 2006 government of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was deposed by a coup in September last year.

After a day of shaking hands with the working class around Rayong, Abhisit said he would head to nearby Pattaya, a beach town known for its vibrant red-light district, to meet "the people who work at night" and those out enjoying their Friday evening.

One of Vejjajiva's stops in Pattaya would be the Tiffany nightclub, a popular cabaret with shows featuring transvestites and transsexuals, Sathit Wongnongthoey, a party executive, was quoted as saying by Thai newspapers.

Before midnight, Abhisit said he would return to the capital to shake hands with the taxi drivers and shopowners working in the lively tourist area around Bangkok's Khao San Road.

At 3:30am yesterday morning, Vejjajiva was scheduled to give a live radio interview before meeting with security guards on overnight shifts and bus drivers before they board their vehicles at 4:30am.

At 5:30am, Abhisit said that Vejjajiva would take a walk through Bangkok's popular Pak Klong morning market to meet traders before ending his day at 6:15am by giving alms to Buddhist monks.

Recent polls show that the Democrat Party is leading its main competition the People's Power Party, a new group comprised of Thaksin's allies.

Neither party is expected to win an outright majority in next month's balloting.

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