Thai princess's bid for PM foiled as party obeys royal command

Thai princess to run for PM -- against junta chief

Princess Ubolratana: The 'outspoken' Thai royal with a turbulent history of breaking with tradition

Less than 14 hours after the party nominated Ubolratana, the oldest daughter of the late King Bhumibol, the king issued a royal command broadcast on all stations late Friday night saying it was inappropriate and unconstitutional her to enter politics.

"The Thai Raksa Chart Party is deeply honored to have received Ubolratana Mahidol's kindness in accepting the party's nomination to be prime minister", the party said in a statement.

But in a royal statement broadcast on Friday night, King Maha Vajiralongkorn voiced his disapproval, saying members of the royal family should stay neutral and can not take any political positions, otherwise it would be against the constitution and constitutional monarchy.

The fast-moving events have jolted the Thai political landscape ahead of a March 24 election meant to restore democracy, increasing the risk of heightened political tension in South-east Asia's second-biggest economy.

Later on Saturday, the party that put forward the nomination of Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Varnavadi said it would respect the king's statement and would "follow the rules and laws of the election commission, and stay respectful of the traditions and norms in Thailand".

"To bring a senior royal family member into the political system in any way is against royal traditions and the nation's culture. which is very inappropriate".

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Ubolratana, a colorful, public-facing royal in contrast to her more restrained brother King Maha Vajiralongkorn, relinquished her royal titles after marrying the American Peter Jensen in 1972. While it does not technically apply to Ubolratana, who lost her highest royal titles when she married an American more than four decades ago, its scope has been widened in recent years to nearly anything that sullies the royal institution, making criticism of the princess highly problematical.

Her candidacy had caused great excitement, because it offered the possibility of a strong challenge to Prayuth winning his job back.

"This act of mine, I have done out of sincerity and intention to sacrifice in this request to lead the country to prosperity", she said.

What has the princess herself said?

2008: She makes silver screen debut with "Where the Miracle Happens", a film based on a novel she wrote in which she stars as a businesswoman who becomes a volunteer teacher.

Paiboon Nititawan, leader of the pro-military People Reform Party, said the EC must act following the rejection by His Majesty the King of his sister's surprise entry into politics. She lived in the United States for more than 26 years before they divorced in 1998. She said that she "sincerely wants Thailand to move forward, and be admired by worldwide countries".

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Thaksin and his sister Yingluck were both ousted in military coups, in 2006 and 2014 respectively.

2004: Ubolratana's son, Bhumi, is killed in the Indian Ocean tsunami.

Her candidacy would have pitted her against the junta leader and current Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the preferred choice for premier of the pro-royalist military.

Soon after Friday's announcement, her catchphrase #SongPhraSlender (Long Live Slender) was number one on Twitter in Thailand.

Thailand also has a draconian lese majeste law which punishes defamation of the immediate royal family with up to 15 years in prison.

2003: Ubolratana stars as a princess in a soap opera set in the Ayutthaya period, "Kasattriya".

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