Leader of the People’s Reform Party in Thai challenges Princess’ nomination

Thai Raksa Chart Party's leader Preechaphol Pongpanit submits on Friday the party's list of prime minister candidate to the Election Commission. His sole candidate is Princess Ubolratana.//Pramote Putthaisong

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BANGKOK, Feb 8, 2019, The Nation. A leader of the People’s Reform Party asked the Election Commission on Friday to rule whether the nomination of His Majesty the King’s eldest sister for the prime minister’s job breached electoral laws, reported The Nation.

Paiboon Nititawan said the Thai Raksa Chart Party’s nomination of Princess Ubolratana might violate a law preventing political parties from relying on the monarchy in their campaigning.

Thai Raksa Chart shocked the country earlier Friday by submitting the Princess’ name to the commission as its sole candidate for prime minister.

Rumours had spread in recent days that the Princess might jump into politics and standing for prime minister in the March 24 election.

Princess Ubolratana relinquished her royal status in 1972 after marrying an American. Thai Raksa Chart is allied to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who has remained politically active since his ouster in the 2006 coup and often expressed his wish to return home from self-imposed exile.

Party leader Preechaphol Pongpanit said the nomination adhered to constitutional rules.

The Princess’ candidacy would only become official after the EC verifies her eligibility to stand for PM, Preechaphol said.

“One of the party members proposed her name during an executive meeting,” he said.

“And she was kind enough to accept our invitation.”

Paiboon of the People’s Reform Party asked the EC to deliberate urgently, citing a key passage of the Constitution placing the monarchy above politics and remaining politically neutral.

In an apparent reference to the Princess having relinquished her royal title, Paiboon said the monarchy was not based on title but rather on birth.

Asked whether the Princess had agreed to apply for the candidacy, Paiboon declined to answer.

“Today I came here only to ask for the EC to investigate the Thai Raksa Chart party,” he said.

He said he would not want to see Thai Raksa Chart dissolved over the matter.

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