World

Party that nominated Thai princess for PM faces ban: Report

BANGKOK The Thai political party that nominated a princess as its candidate for prime minister could be banned from election next month after an activist said yesterday he would file a petition seeking its dissolution.

Thailand's Election Commission is to meet today to consider the candidacy of Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi, 67, who stunned the nation last Friday when she said she would be the prime ministerial candidate for a populist party loyal to the ousted Thaksin Shinawatra.

Her announcement drew a swift rebuke from King Maha Vajiralongkorn, her younger brother, who issued a statement saying it was "inappropriate" for members of the royal family to enter politics.

The March 24 election is the first since a military coup in 2014 toppled an elected pro-Thaksin government.

The junta leader, Prayut Chan-o-cha, is also contesting the race for prime minister, as the candidate of a pro-military party.

The nomination of the king's older sister, who has starred in soap operas and an action movie was a shocking move.

The Election Commission has until Friday to rule on her candidacy. It is unlikely its members would disregard the wishes of the king, who while a constitutional monarch, is considered semi-divine in Thai society.

Yesterday, an activist said he would file a petition to disqualify the Thai Raksa Chart party, which nominated the princess.

"The royal announcement made it clear that the party violated electoral law," said Mr Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Constitution. - REUTERS

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