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Thai king thwarts former princess' PM bid: Who's who

Thai king thwarts former princess' PM bid: Who's who”

Conjecture has coursed through Thailand since Friday when the Thai Raksa Chart party proposed Princess Ubolratana, King Maha Vajiralongkorn's elder sister, as a candidate for premier after the March 24 election.

The decision brings to an end a weekend of feverish speculation in Thailand after two remarkable events on Friday.

A staunch royalist and an opponent of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, Mr Prayut accepted the nomination of pro-military Palang Pracharath Party to be its prime ministerial candidate in the upcoming elections.

"All members of the royal family must abide by the king's principle of staying above politics, maintaining political impartiality and they can not take up political office", part of the statement released to the media said.

On Sunday, an activist said he would file a petition to disqualify the Thai Raksa Chart party.

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.

Among the candidates for prime minister is the current junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha, who as army chief led the coup.

The gruff former general, masterminded a putsch against the government of Yingluck Shinawatra, Thaksin's sister, in 2014.

"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 commission is likely to follow the wishes of the monarch, who holds a semi-divine place 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.

"The EC must therefore take steps to dissolve the party", Paiboon said, citing Section 92 of the 2018 Political Party Act's stipulation on dissolution of the party when it has obtained credible evidence that it has committed an act deemed hostile to constitutional monarchy rule.

Announcing his candidacy yesterday, Mr Prayuth said he was running to "maintain peace and order" of the last five years despite a campaign to tighten controls on opposition parties which has led to democratic elections being delayed.

She broke a long-standing tradition in which the Thai monarchy is seen as above the political fray, and allied herself with Thaksin's political movement, long-criticized as anti-monarchist and anti-establishment.

Thaksin, who has been in exile to avoid a jail sentence on a conflict of interest conviction, is believed by many to have played a role in establishing Ubolratana's candidacy.



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