World Media

Party that nominated Thai princess for PM faces ban

Party that nominated Thai princess for PM faces ban

The King of Thailand has expressed his objection to Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi's controversial registration as a candidate for the Prime Minister of Thailand in the upcoming Thai general election, which is scheduled to take place on the 24th next month.

A spokesman for Thai Raksa Chart said the party "graciously accepts" the King's reservations and will follow "the royal command with loyalty to the king and all members of the royal family".

The 67-year-old princess returned to Thailand in 1998 after divorcing her husband and quickly resumed royal duties but was not given her titles back.

The Thai royal family, a revered institution shielded from criticism by a tough defamation law, has traditionally been seen as above the political fray, although royals have intervened in moments of political crisis.

On Sunday, an activist said he would file a petition to disqualify the Thai Raksa Chart party, which nominated the princess.

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".

The royal announcement added: "Bringing a high-ranking member of the royal family to politics, in whatever manner, is an act in violation of the royal tradition and national culture and highly inappropriate".

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That ends a bold gambit by the anti-military coalition to boost its popularity and insulate itself against charges of being anti-monarchy, by having the king's flamboyant older sister Ubolratana run for prime minister, although her nomination can not be legally withdrawn.

"We won't work with a party that is not like us: respecting the laws. traditions and Thai customs - something that Thai people are very strict about", party leader Uttama Savanayana told reporters Sunday, in a reference to the Thai Raksa Chart party.

Coalition sources say they believed they had the king's acquiescence for his sister to run in the election.

In an Instagram post this weekend she thanked Thais who had supported her but did not address the King's comments.

Thai Raksa Chart is a pro-Thaksin Shinawatra party, and Princess Ubolratana is known to be a long-time friend of the Shinawatra family, which has an influence in the upcoming election through its proxy political parties, although they have not fielded a family member directly this time.

"We will keep moving forward in the election so that we can solve the problems for the people and country", the party said in a statement posted on Facebook.

The election will be the first vote since current Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha took power in 2014, overthrowing the democratic government and ousting former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the younger sister of Mr Thaksin.


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