Thai party accepts king’s order not to field his sister for PM’s post

Thai Princess Ubolratana on Saturday pulled out of the prime ministerial race in the March elections after her brother King Maha Vajiralongkorn opposed her nomination by Thai Raksa Chart Party linked to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, agencies report.

Thai Raksa Chart accepted the royal command but is left without a prime ministerial candidate.

Pressure is mounting on the Election Commission to dissolve Thai Raksa Chart for the inappropriate nomination of Ubolratana for the country’s top job on Friday.

Friday was the last day for parties to file the nomination for their respective prime ministerial candidates.

Justifying his opposition to his sister’s nomination, Vajiralongkorn said the Thai royal family should be above politics and any violation of this rule is unconstitutional. 

Princess Ubolratana, who had relinquished her royal title in 1972 and is a commoner now, wanted to serve as prime minister to make Thailand more prosperous.

According to the king, although the princess has relinquished her royal titles, she is still respected as a member of the Chakri dynasty.

It is not clear whether the king was upset that his sister was nominated to the prime minister’s post by Thai Raksa Chart Party linked to allies of former prime ministers, Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Princess Ubolratana, 67, is a long-time friend of the Shinawatra family.

Many voters wanted her to emerge victorious in the polls to restore democracy after five years of rule under the general-turned-prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha who kept postponing the polls after staging a military coup against Yingluck in 2014.

Many of them were looking forward to a historic election in which a member of the royal family would be contesting for the first time.

They thought Ubolratana’s poll victory will bring the Shinawatra family back into limelight.

On Friday, pro-military Phalang Pracharat Party nominated Prayut, 64, as their prime ministerial candidate reviving fears among people of the continuation of junta rule.

While the general in Prayut often gets the better of prime minister, Ubolratana has no airs and she wants to serve the people. She has some 100,000 followers on Instagram.