02/11/2019, 13.45
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After king criticises her, Thai princess barred from running for prime minister’s office

The name of the monarch’s 67-year-old elder sister does not appear on the official list of candidates. For the Election Commission, members of the royal family must be “above politics". Pro-monarchy activist calls for the dissolution of the Thai Raksa Chart Party for violating the election law.

Bangkok (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Thailand's Election Commission has disqualified Princess Ubolratana Mahidol, sister of the Thai king, from running for prime minister in the upcoming elections.

This morning's announcement puts an end to a candidacy that the monarch, Maha Vajiralongkorn, had described as "inappropriate".

The commission released the official list of candidates for the general election of 24 March, where the name of the king’s 67-year-old elder sister does not appear. The princess had accepted the nomination of the Thai Raksa Chart Party.

In a statement, the Commission said that members of the royal family should be "above politics" and therefore cannot "hold any political office".

“Involvement of a high-ranking member of the royal family in politics, in whatever way, is an act that conflicts with the country’s traditions, customs, and culture, and therefore considered highly inappropriate,” the king said in a statement.

A pro-royal activist on Sunday said he would file a petition to disqualify the Thai Raksa Chart party. "The royal announcement made it clear that the party violated electoral law," noted Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Constitution.

Thailand has been a constitutional monarchy since 1932, but the royal family still exerts great influence and is the object of the devotion of millions of Thais.

On 23 January, King Maha Vajiralongkorn issued a royal decree to hold the first general elections since the military overthrew the administration of Yingluck Shinawatra in May 2014.

The princess wanted to represent a party loyal to the still influential Shinawatra family, who dominated Thai political life for years.

Thailand’s current Prime Minister and former Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army, Prayuth Chan-ocha, announced that he will run as the candidate for the pro-military Palang Pracharat party.

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