Thai Princess Disqualified from PM Race

Thai Princess Ubolratana was on Monday formally disqualified for running for prime minister, ending her brief and ill-fated political union.

Her disqualification comes bare days after a stern royal command rebuking her candidacy was issued by her brother, the king.

Uncertainty and conjecture have coursed through Thailand since Friday when the Thai Raksa Chart party made the explosive announcement of Princess Ubolratana, King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s elder sister, as their candidate for premier after the March 24 election.

Her tilt appeared to some to be a masterstroke of back-room dealings by Thaksin Shinawatra, the billionaire self-exiled ex-premier, just weeks before the poll. It however crumbled just hours later.

A royal command from the king put a pin in her unprecedented political aspirations, insisting the monarchy was above politics and describing his sister’s candidacy as “highly inappropriate”.

Thailand’s incredibly wealthy and powerful monarchy is revered by Thais and protected by a draconian lese majeste law. The king’s word is seen as final.

On Monday the Election Commission formally scratched her candidacy.

“The EC today has announced the name of candidates excluding Princess Ubolratana proposed by the Thai Raksa Chart party,” it said in a statement, explaining “all royal family members are above politics.”

A chastened Thai Raksa Chart, a key pillar in Thaksin’s election strategy, agreed to comply with the royal command.

It may face censure by election authorities that could ultimately see it dissolved, although it was not clear if any ban could be in place before the election takes place.

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