Thai princess bid for PM scuttled as party obeys royal command

Thai princess bid for PM scuttled as party obeys royal command

Thai princess bid for PM scuttled as party obeys royal command

Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn (or Rama X) has denounced his sister, Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi after she announced her bid to become the country's next prime minister.

The party falls under the tutelage of Thaksin, who stands at the heart of Thailand's bitter political schism - loathed by the army and Bangkok elite, yet adored by the rural poor for health, welfare and education schemes.

But her foray into politics - breaking with royal tradition - looked to be short-lived after public opposition from her younger brother, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, which is likely to lead to her disqualification by the Election Commission.

Princess Ubolratana Mahidol, 67, has been nominated as a candidate for a party allied to divisive former PM Thaksin Shinawatra.

A former general, Mr Prayuth also announced on Friday that he would be running for prime minister in the forthcoming election as a candidate for the pro-military Palang Pracharat party.

The election commission, meanwhile, will hold a meeting on Monday to discuss the latest developments regarding the March elections, reports Al Jazeera.

In 2016, Thais voted to approve a new constitution created by the country's military leaders, which was designed to perpetuate military influence and block Mr Thaksin's allies from winning another election.

Ubolratana's decision to link up with a Thaksin-backed party raised the possibility that she could help push through changes to the Constitution that would make it more democratic.

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The Thai Raksa Chart Party has cancelled plans today to launch their election campaign in Bangkok's China Town.

"Involvement of a high-ranking member of the royal family in politics, in whatever way, is an act that conflicts with the country's traditions, customs, and culture, and therefore considered highly inappropriate", the king said in a statement. She is given the title Her Royal Highness, Chao Fa (lady of the sky) before the family moves back to Thailand in December that year. The move would have presented a serious challenge to Thailand's military junta, which has ruled since a coup in 2014, and would have marked a potential comeback for Thaksin and his populist political movement.

"I believe there will be no legal problems in terms of her qualification, but we have to wait for the Election Commission to endorse her candidacy", Mr Preechapol said. After her divorce she returned to Thailand in 2001 and once again started participating in royal life.

1951: Ubolratana is born in Lausanne, Switzerland, the first child of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit while her father was studying science at the University of Lausanne.

The first-born of the former king is an unusually public figure for a royal, having starred in movies and dished out advice to almost 100,000 followers on Instagram.

"I would like to say once again that I want to see Thailand moving forward, being admirable and acceptable by worldwide countries, want to see all Thais have rights, a chance, good living, happiness to all", she said, concluding with the #ILoveYou hashtag.

Princess Ubolratana now does not have the same official standing in Thailand as other members of the royal family. Ubolratana falls into a gray area, since she is commonly called a princess and treated as such, despite losing the royal designations after her marriage. She has three children, one of whom died in the 2004 tsunami that killed more than 225,000 people in southern Asia.

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