King tor­pe­does sis­ter’s PM bid

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - NATION - Agence France-presse let­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

BANGKOK: A new Thai po­lit­i­cal party vowed on Satur­day to obey a com­mand from the coun­try’s king block­ing the can­di­dacy of a princess for prime min­is­ter in a dra­matic re­ver­sal that ap­peared to boost the junta’s chances ahead of the March elec­tions.

The shock an­nounce­ment ef­fec­tively blocks Thai Princess Ubol­ratana Ra­jakanya’s un­prece­dented bid for the premier­ship and comes a day after an ex­tra­or­di­nary re­buke of the can­di­dacy by her younger brother, King Maha Va­ji­ra­longkorn.

The Thai Raksa Chart party, which is af­fil­i­ated with the pow­er­ful Thaksin Shi­nawa­tra po­lit­i­cal clan, an­nounced the princess as their sur­prise can­di­date on Fri­day morn­ing.

The move looked to rat­tle the sta­tus quo and threaten the am­bi­tions of the junta that has ruled Thai­land since it top­pled the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Yingluck Shi­nawa­tra in a 2014 coup.

But the Thai king tor­pe­doed the bid in a sharply worded state­ment the same day that said bring­ing se­nior royal fam­ily mem­bers into pol­i­tics is against tra­di­tion, na­tional cul­ture and “highly in­ap­pro­pri­ate”.

Thai Raksa Chart party re­sponded swiftly, 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,” the state­ment said.

Thai­land has some of the strictest laws in the world and the king’s de­ci­sion is al­ways con­sid­ered fi­nal.

AFP FILE

Thai Princess Ubol­ratana Ra­jakanya

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