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 electoral officials are set to rule on the surprise and unprecedented nomination of a Thai princess as a prime ministerial candidate for the country's upcoming elections after her brother, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, called the move "inappropriate" and unconstitutional.

Thailand's Election Commission announced it would make a formal ruling on the princess's short-lived stand on Monday but it is likely she will be disqualified after the king denouncement and her party's decision to comply.

Bangkok Post reported that the opposition was made on the grounds that the princess "is still a royal family member who is not allowed to take political positions" despite having legally relinquished her royal titles, following her marriage to Peter Jensen, a citizen of the United States, who she had met whilst studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

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

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

Thailand has been a constitutional monarchy since 1932, but the royal family wields great influence and commands the devotion of millions.

That ends a bold gambit by the anti-military coalition to boost its popularity and insulate itself against charges of being anti-monarchy, by having the king's flamboyant older sister Ubolratana run for prime minister, although her nomination can not be legally withdrawn.

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

Members of the Phalang Pracharat party - which is aligned with the military - were jubilant following the weekend's upheaval and its party leaders took to the streets, campaigning in a 60-vehicle convoy, to tout their tradition-abiding credentials.

Thai Raksa Chart's Executive Chairman Chaturon Chaisaeng declined to comment on Sunday on the request to disband the party. Prayuth was the Thai army chief in 2014 and led the coup that ousted a government led by Thaksin's sister.

But the Thai king torpedoed the bid in a sharply worded statement later the same day that said bringing senior royal family members into politics is against tradition, national culture and "highly inappropriate".

Parties loyal to Thaksin, a former telecommunications tycoon, have defeated pro-establishment parties to win every election since 2001, but since 2006 each of their governments have been removed by either coups or court judgments.

Srisuwan said his complaint to the Election Commission would ask it to recommend that a Constitutional Court dissolve the party.

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