The Speaker
Tuesday, 18 June 2024 – 16:10

Thai princess “saddened” about election fallout

After the failed attempt to become Thailand’s next Prime Minister, Princess Ubolratana, the sister of Thailand’s king、 stated that she is “saddened” about the decision by Thailand’s Election Committee.

She was nominated for the candidacy by Thai Raksa Chart、a party associated with former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The Commission – which also currently seeks to dissolve the party that nominated her – disqualified her because “every member of the royal family comes within the application of the same rule requiring the monarch to be above politics and to be politically neutral“.

The Princess’ announcement to run for the position of Prime Minister sent shockwaves through Thai politics as her nomination broke with the tradition of the Thai royal family.

Usually the royal family stays out of national politics. King Vajiralongkorn had therefore said in a palace statement that the “involvement of a high-ranking member of the royal family in politics… is considered extremely inappropriate”.

Later, the princess wrote on her Instagram account: “I am sad that the sincere intention to work for the country and us Thais has created a problem that shouldn’t happen in this day and age.”

The Thai princess was educated in the USA and married an American in 1972 – relinquishing her royal title. She only returned to Thailand in 2001 after they divorced.

Since then, she has established a celebrity status appearing in music videos and other entertainment programs.

Conversely、the princess’ attempt has sparked old rivalries:

Royalists have, once again, accused Mr Thaksin of trying to exploit the monarchy for his own ambitions.

Also, pro-Thaksin supporters, who have been waiting to use their voting power for five years, worry about the upcoming elections as the monarchy may use the military to maintain the status quo of the current government in power.

Preechaphol Pongpanit, Thai Raksa Chart’s leader, has said that his party did everything “sincerely, with good intentions“, but added: “Above us is His Majesty and the monarchy. We are ready to be investigated.

The election committee labelled the princess nomination as “antagonistic toward the constitutional monarchy” and said it will request dissolving of the party by the country’s Constitutional Court.

The election in March will be the first since the current Prime Minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, took office in a 2014 military coup – overthrowing the democratically-elected government.


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