Thai party that nominated princess for PM faces ban for violating law

Thai party that nominated princess for PM faces ban for violating law

The elder sister of King Maha Vajiralongkorn was nominated as the prime ministerial candidate of Thai Raksa Chart Party, only for her bid to be stymied by her brother, the King, some 13 hours later.

In a country where the monarch's word is final, King Maha Vajiralongkorn dismissed proposals to draft a senior royal into politics as "most inappropriate" and breaching the constitution.

Opponents of the Shinawatra political clan campaigned triumphantly in the Thai capital on Sunday, after a weekend of high political drama when a Thai princess' bid to be premier provoked a rare royal rebuke.

The candidacy would have broken with the tradition of the Thai royal family publicly staying out of politics.

Princess Ubolratana had claimed she was exercising her rights as a commoner to stand for election but she undermined her own candidacy by listing the royal "Grand Palace" as her residence on official registration papers.

In a statement broadcast across Thai television networks, King Vajiralongkorn, 66, said: "Even though she has relinquished her royal titles in writing, she maintained her status and carried herself as a member of the Chakri dynasty".

Next month's vote is being closely watched as the first chance for Thailand to return to democracy after five years under military rule.

The much-anticipated election is set for March 24 and will be the first since a 2014 coup.

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The Thai Raksa Chart party - Princess Ubolratana's nominating party - has said that it "graciously accepts" the royal announcement and "would abide by election regulations and royal tradition".

Thailand's king has crushed the plans of his older sister to become a candidate for the country's prime minister.

Thai Raksa Chart's executive chairman Chaturon Chaisaeng declined to comment on the request to disband it. That would leave the largest party in the coalition, which is aligned with Mr Shinawatra, still contesting the election, but without an important partner. If that is the case, either there was a misunderstanding, or he changed his mind.

In a world of strict decorum that defines Thai royal life, she stands out for her accessibility - she is an actress and singer, and replies to queries from the more than 97,000 followers of her Instagram account.

But the decision leaves the party without a prime ministerial candidate. She said she would work with all sincerity and determination for the prosperity of all Thais.

He responded to the events on Twitter late on Saturday telling supporters to "keep moving forward" and "learn from past experiences but live for today and the future".

Thailand's current Prime Minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, led the 2014 coup and is now widely expected to be re-elected.

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