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Thai King Dashes Sister's Political Dreams

12 February 2019
Thai King Dashes Sister's Political Dreams

Thai Princess Ubolratana was on Monday formally disqualified for running for prime minister, ending her brief and ill-fated political union with a party allied to the powerful Shinawatra clan, just days after a stern royal command rebuking her candidacy was issued by her brother, the king.

'The board agrees that the name of Princess Ubolratana, an educated and skilled person, is the most suitable choice, ' Thai Raksa Chart party leader Preechapol Pongpanich told reporters. The commission cited the same rationale for its decision today.

"The provisions also cover the queen, heir-apparent and royal family members close to the king", stressed the royal statement, adding that they "may not hold any political position, as it is against the intention of the constitutions and constitutional monarchy tradition".

The ruling ends a stunning, short-lived candidacy for a populist party after King Maha Vajiralongkorn called the bid "inappropriate".

Also know as Ubol Ratana, the princess renounced her royal titles when she married a USA citizen in 1972, but was given them back after her divorce and return to Thailand in the late 1990s.

"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 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 Electoral Commission hinted that it would consider banning the Thai Raksa Chart party.

The Thai general election this year "had been broadly viewed as a straightforward battle between Thaksin's populists and their allies, on the one hand, and the royalist-military establishment on the other", according to CNA. 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 an Instagram post, she reiterated that she had relinquished all her royal titles and now lived as a commoner. She said she would work with all sincerity and determination for the prosperity of all Thais.

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.

Shortly after the king's statement she posted again without addressing the issue directly, simply thanking Thais for their support and saying that she wanted Thailand to "move forward and become admired and accepted by the worldwide community".