Back down over support for princess as Thai PM

Thai King Dashes Sister's Political Dreams

Thai King Dashes Sister's Political Dreams

The gambit to nominate a member of the royal family could backfire on Thai Raksa Chart, said Titipol Phakdeewanich, dean of the faculty of political science at Ubon Ratchathani University.

The Thai royal family, a revered institution shielded from criticism by a tough defamation law, has traditionally been seen as above the political fray, although royals have intervened in moments of political crisis. He said that the princess' name could be used for election campaigning, which breaches Section 17 of the election law barring candidates and political parties from using the monarchy for that.

In a statement broadcast across Thai television networks, King Vajiralongkorn, 66, said: "Even though she has relinquished her royal titles in writing, she maintained her status and carried herself as a member of the Chakri dynasty".

"Involvement of a high-ranking member of the royal family in politics, in whatever way, is considered an act that defies the nation's traditions, customs and culture, and therefore is considered extremely inappropriate".

Thai Raksa Chart, said it "complies with the royal command", and canceled a campaign event Saturday.

Next month's vote is being closely watched as the first chance for Thailand to return to democracy after five years under military rule.

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.

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

Coalition sources say they believed they had the king's acquiescence for his sister to run in the election.

In a world of strict decorum that defines Thai royal life, she stands out for her accessibility - she is an actress and singer, and replies to queries from the more than 97,000 followers of her Instagram account.

The Association for the Protection of the Constitution plans to file a petition to the commission to "investigate if Thai Raksa Chart Party's nomination of Princess Ubolratana is lawful and constitutional", said chairman Srisuwan Janya. She said she would work with all sincerity and determination for the prosperity of all Thais.

The upcoming election is the country's first since the current Prime Minister, army general Prayut Chan-o-cha, took power in 2014 a military coup.

"I would like to say once again that I want to see Thailand moving forward, being admirable and acceptable by global 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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