Bangkok: Thailand’s election commission (EC) asked Wednesday the constitutional court to dissolve a party that proposed a princess as candidate for Prime Minister, a potentially serious blow to the political aspirations of the kingdom’s powerful Shinawatra clan.
Junta-ruled Thailand has sunk into political chaos since Friday, when Princess Ubolratana’s name was submitted by Thai Raksa Chart, a party allied with the divisive billionaire ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
Her unprecedented bid to enter frontline politics unravelled within hours after King Maha Vajiralongkorn, the 67-year-old Ubolratana’s younger brother, decried the entry of a royal into the political fray as ‘highly inappropriate’.
Thailand’s powerful and vastly wealthy monarchy is seen as above politics, although royals have intervened before during times of political crisis.
The commission brought a premature end to the Princess’s political career by disqualifying her as a candidate for premier. The commission has now filed a request with the constitutional court to disband Thai Raksa Chart for breaching the political parties’ law by bringing a royal family member into politics. “That action is considered hostile to the constitutional monarchy,” it said.
It was not immediately clear if the court could rule on Thai Raksa Chart’s dissolution before the March 24 election.
If dissolved, the party’s executives – including Shinawatra family members – could face a long political ban, while its candidates would be unable to run in the poll. The party said it will contest the move.
“Our party will go ahead (with campaigning) we are the hope of… our people,” party leader Preechaphol Pongpanit said, adding that they were ‘stunned’ by how swiftly events had unfolded over the past few days.