Thai election panel disqualifies princess as PM candidate

Thai election panel disqualifies princess as PM candidate

Thai election panel disqualifies princess as PM candidate

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".

Broadcast on all Thai TV networks, the statement 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 commissioners voted to shoot down the nomination just three days after His Majesty the King barred Princess Ubolratana Mahidol, 68, from the race for the top government job on the grounds that royal family members can not get involved in politics.

Analysts say the king's intervention would in any case have been likely to have led to the election commission disqualifying her from the 24 March election.

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On Friday, a day of whiplashing political drama in Thailand, the older sister of the king briefly assumed another position - nominated to be prime minister by a party opposed to the military junta that has ruled since a coup in 2014. It is unlikely its members would disregard the wishes of the king, who while a constitutional monarch, is considered semi-divine in Thai society.

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

The nomination of the king's elder sister, who has starred in soap operas and an action movie and gave up her royal titles after marrying an American, was a shocking move by forces loyal to Thaksin, who face an uphill battle in the election.

The party could be banned from the March 24 election after an activist said he would file a petition seeking its dissolution. He said that the princess' name could be used for election campaigning, which breaches Section 17 of the election law barring candidates and political parties from using the monarchy for that.

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Parties loyal to former telecommunications tycoon Thaksin have defeated pro-establishment parties to win every election since 2001, but since 2006 each of their governments have been removed by court rulings or coups.

As a candidate, Ubolratana would have attempted to oust junta leader and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the preferred choice of the military.

On Saturday, the Thai Raksa Chart party swore loyalty to the king, saying in a statement that it "complies with the royal command".

Dissolving Thai Raksa Chart could hand more seats to military-affiliated parties or other established parties, as well as a separate youth-oriented populist party.

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Thaksin, himself ousted in a coup in 2006, lives in self-imposed exile after being convicted by a Thai court of corruption in absentia.

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