Thai election panel disqualifies Princess Ubolratana as PM candidate

Thai King Dashes Sister's Political Dreams

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

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.

The Election Commission has until Friday to rule on her candidacy.

After her original announcement, the king had issued a statement from the palace which declared the royals "exist in a status above politics".

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 nomination of the king's older sister, who has starred in soap operas and an action movie was a shocking move. It is unlikely its members would disregard the wishes of the king, who while a constitutional monarch, is considered semi-divine in Thai society.

After the February 8 political natural disaster, the future of the party, which has close ties with fugitive ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra, was on the verge of being dissolved.

"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.

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Thai Raksa Chart's executive chairman Chaturon Chaisaeng declined to comment on the request to disband it. 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.

If the party is dissolved, it could give more seats to anti-Thaksin affiliated parties like the pro-junta, Phalang Pracharat and progressive Future Forward party, he said.

Thailand's current Prime Minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, led the 2014 coup and is now widely expected to be re-elected. Prayuth was the Thai army chief in 2014 and led the coup that ousted a government led by Thaksin's sister.

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.

Princess Ubolratana has carried out "activities on behalf of the royal family", and continues to be regarded as "the beloved daughter of late King Bhumibol and a respected member of the royal family", added the royal statement, according to Bangkok Post.

"Things are now more unpredictable", Titipol told Reuters.

Thaksin has lived in self-imposed exile in England since he was deposed.

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