The 200 nominees for Thailand’s Constitution Drafting Assembly (CDA) have been selected by the National People’s Assembly. The nominee gaining the most votes (55) was little known Okas Tepalakul from Chachoengsao province. His selection seems to have taken commentators by surprise and there are even allegations of voting irregularities including, god forbid, vote buying! The Nation’s investigative journalists have been working overtime to compile the following profile:

… who is Okas and why did he receive the highest vote of 55, which ranked him as number one?

No one seems to have a clue.

“How did he make it?” queried Maj Pol Gen Krerk Kalayanimitr, who received 13 votes and came in at number 69.

While The Nation couldn’t reach the 59-year-old Okas as of press time, his brief bio-data compiled by the Parliament, which organised the election, listed him as a businessman and owner of a provincial Japanese car dealership with an engineering degree from the prestigious Waseda University in Tokyo.

Okas is currently a member of the National Economic and Social Advisory Council. He was also in Class 12 of the National Defence College’s Joint State-Private Course, and a classmate of the Council for National Security (CNS) chairman General Sonthi Boonyaratglin.

Oh, a classmate of Sonthi. Perhaps that is a clue.

A quick bit of Googling this morning found the following reference from the Bangkok Airport online

The National Economic and Social Advisory Council (Nesac) yesterday urged that a complete airport link be built between Bangkok’s electric railways and Suvarnabhumi. Nesac’s working group on infrastructure development, led by Opas [?] Tepalakul, asked Transport Minister Theera Haocharoen to consider building a complete airport link by extending the Red Line from Rangsit to Bang Sue to connect with the Makkasan-Suvarnabhumi railway.

New Mandala is keen to find out more about this rising leader of democratic reform, and invites submissions from New Mandala readers. Okas Tepalakul – a name to note. This car dealer from Chachoengsao may well end up being New Mandala’s democrat of the year!