February 11, 2019 - 14:13 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Officials have disqualified a Thai princess from running for prime minister in next month's general election after her brother, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, said her nomination would be "inappropriate," CNN reports
Thailand's Electoral Commission announced on Monday, February 11 that the "monarchy must remain above politics."
In a shock announcement on Friday, Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya, 67, said she would stand as the prime ministerial candidate for the Thai Raksa Chart Party (Thai Save The Nation, or TSN) aligned with populist former leader Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted by the military in a 2006 coup.
The candidacy of a close member of the royal family is unprecedented in Thailand since the era of absolute monarchy ended 86 years ago.
Thai law stipulates that once a name is submitted, it cannot be withdrawn -- though the Electoral Commission has the power to decide the legitimacy of candidates.
The March 24 election is widely considered to be a vote between a form of democracy and legitimized authoritarian rule, following a military coup in 2014.
Coup leader turned Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Cha announced his own candidacy Friday. The commission revealed on Monday that Prayut was among 45 candidates it said was eligible to contest the vote
Ubolratana gave up her royal status when she married American Peter Jensen in 1972, but returned to Thailand in 2001 following her divorce and continued to be active in royal life.
In a televised statement on Friday, hours after TSM announced Ubolratana would run for prime minister, Vajiralongkorn said: "To involve a high-level member of the royal family in politics, directly or indirectly, is against royal traditions, norms and the national culture," adding that "it is deemed extremely inappropriate."
TSN on Friday said it accepted Vajiralongkorn's words "with our loyalty to the King and all royal family members" and would comply with the "Electoral Commission's regulations, election laws, constitution and to royal traditions with respect." It stands "ready to bring prosperity to Thailand with respecting the decision of the people under democratic system with the King as our head of state."