Thai Princess Slender's political ambition cut short

Thai Election Panel Disqualifies Princess as PM Candidate

Ubolratana Rajaka, Princess of Thailand, attends "Thailand Hub of Entertainment", a film and entertainment industry event for investors, in Hong Kong March 24, 2010.

Princess Ubolratana Mahidol's bid to become the next prime minister of Thailand has been blocked by her brother, the king.

Thai Princess Ubolratana's decision to stand for the Thai Raksa Chart Party collapsed when King Maha Vajiralongkorn banned her from running.

Members of the royal family should be "above politics" and therefore can not "hold any political office", the commission said in a statement, echoing the wording of a public statement from the king on Friday.

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.

Thailand will hold elections on March 24, the first since a 2014 military coup.

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having the king's flamboyant older sister Ubolratana run for prime minister, although her nomination can not be legally withdrawn. It is unlikely its members would disregard the wishes of the king, who while a constitutional monarch, is considered semi-divine in Thai society.


"The royal announcement made it clear that the party violated electoral law", Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Constitution, told Reuters.

"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. The party said it would accept the king's message and "move forward into the election arena to solve problems for the country". His alleged involvement rattled royalists who see their campaign against Thaksin as a way to protect the monarchy.

The king called his sister's candidacy "inappropriate.and unconstitutional" saying members of the royal family should not run for office.

Since Thaksin was ousted by a military coup in 2006, Thailand's establishment has had little success in trying to weaken his political machine with constitutional amendments, court rulings and changes to the electoral system.

If the party is dissolved, it could give more seats to anti-Thaksin affiliated parties, he said, although there are other parties loyal to the ex-premier contesting the election.

Thai Raksa Chart is aligned with Yingluck and her brother Thaksin, who was ousted by the army in 2006.

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