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Princess Ubolratna's PM bid cut short by Thai king

This 2010 picture shows Thailand princess Ubolratana whose bid for premiership of the country was thwarted following the intervention by the king.
This 2010 picture shows Thailand princess Ubolratana whose bid for premiership of the country was thwarted following the intervention by the king. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

Princess Ubolratana’s dramatic bid to run for Thailand’s premiership was scuttled after the party that announced her candidacy vowed to obey the king’s command that no member of the royal family should be involved in politics.

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On Friday morning, the Thai Raksa Party had announced Princess Ubolratana as their candidate for the March 24 elections, the first since the 2014 coup.

The announcement was set to rattle the political status quo in the country as it threatened the ambitions of the junta that has ruled Thailand since it toppled the administration of Yingluck Shinawatra in a 2014 coup.

However, Princess Ubolratana’s extraordinary bid was quashed following a rebuke by King Maha Vajiralongkorn who issued a sharply worded statement on Friday night stating that bringing senior royal family members into politics was against tradition, national culture and “highly inappropriate.”

Consequently, Thai Raksa Chart responded by cancelling a campaign event on Saturday and issuing a statement saying it would “respect tradition and royal customs.”

“Thai Raksa Chart party complies with the royal command”, it said.

The 67-year-old princess did not address the rebuke head-on when she thanked supporters on Saturday on her Instagram account, saying that she wanted Thailand to “move forward”.

Thailand is a constitutional monarchy and has not had a royal run for frontline office since 1932.

Princess Ubolratana gave up her royal titles when she married an American decades ago, but they divorced and she moved back to Thailand.

(with AFP)

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