Party that nominated Thai princess for PM faces ban

Party that nominated Thai princess for PM faces ban

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

Thailand's Election Commission on Monday disqualified the sister of the king from running for prime minister on Monday, ending a stunning, short-lived candidacy for a populist party after King Maha Vajiralongkorn called the bid "inappropriate".

The commission released the official list of parties' candidates for prime minister on Monday without the name of Princess Ubolratana, the older sister of the king.

But the king issued a statement which said: 'To bring a senior royal family member into the political system in any way is against royal traditions and the nation's culture. which is very inappropriate'.

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.

Fears of the third military coup since 2006 - just weeks from a planned election on March 24 - were reignited after tanks appeared and army chiefs were dispatched to Munich, in Germany, where the king resides.

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".

She gave up her royal titles after marrying an American and she has starred in soap operas and an action movie. Its members are unlikely to disregard the wishes of the king, who while a constitutional monarch, is considered semi-divine in Thai society. The current junta leader, Prayuth Chan-ocha, has also declared candidacy for a pro-military party.

Thai Raksa Chart's Executive Chairman Chaturon Chaisaeng declined to comment on Sunday on the request to disband the party.

"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.

Thai Raksa Chart is one of several pro-Thaksin parties contesting the election.

"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.

"Things are now more unpredictable", Titipol told Reuters. The takeover resulted in the installation of a junta intent on eradicating the influence of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whose allies have won every national election since 2001.

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