Thailand election 2019: Princess disqualified from prime minister bid

Thailand election 2019: Princess disqualified from prime minister bid

The political career of Thailand's Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi lasted only three days, but in that time her declaration that she would be a candidate for prime minister in a March election shook up the kingdom.

The party that nominated a Thai princess to run for prime minister has said it will comply with the king's wishes after he opposed the move.

The election commission's exclusion was widely expected after a late night statement from King Maha Vajiralongkorn just hours after his elder sister put her name forward as the candidate for a populist political party on Friday.

"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.

Still, Paiboon Nititawan, the pro-military People Reform Party leader, has called on the Election Commission to meet Monday to consider dissolving the Thai Raksa Party for nominating the princess despite withdrawing her nomination.

She returned to Thailand in 2001 from the US after her divorce and has since regularly taken part in charity, social welfare and health-promoting events as well as anti-drug campaigns for youths.

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

"I would like to say once again that I want to see Thailand moving forward, being admirable and acceptable by worldwide countries, want to see all Thais have rights, a chance, good living, happiness to all", she said, ending her post with an "#ILoveYou" hashtag.

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The military deposed Thaksin in 2006 and, since then, Thai politics have been locked in a cycle of his allies winning elections and later being ousted from power by court rulings or coups - most recently in 2014, when the army overthrew the remnants of a government that had been led by Thaksin's sister Yingluck.

Thailand's incredibly wealthy and powerful monarchy is revered by Thais and protected by a draconian lese majeste law. The government operates as a constitutional monarchy, where the monarch is the head of state and the prime minister is the head of government.

Party leaders were not immediately available for comment and cancelled a press conference planned for Monday.

Ubolratana on Saturday said in an Instagram post that she wanted the country "move forward and be admired by worldwide countries".

His movement has won every democratic election in Thailand since 2001, but Thaksin and his sister live as exiles outside the country on corruption and other charges they say are politically motivated.

Ultra-royalists are now demanding that Thai Raksa Chart be dissolved.

Paritta Wangkiat reported from Bangkok.

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