Tensions rise with Thai election commission to rule on princess running for PM

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BANGKOK – Thailand’s Election Commission will consider this week the surprise nomination of a Thai princess as a prime ministerial candidate in March elections after her brother, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, called it “inappropriate” and unconstitutional.

The commission will also consider a complaint seeking to ban the populist party that stunned the Southeast Asian nation by nominating Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi, 67, for the prime ministership.

The March 24 election will be the first since a military coup in 2014.

Thailand has been a constitutional monarchy since 1932, but the royal family wields great influence and commands the devotion of millions of Thais.

Ubolratana’s shock nomination last week by the Thai Raksa Chart party, which is made up of supporters of ousted ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, broke with a longstanding tradition of members of the royal family staying above politics.

She gave up her royal titles after marrying an American in the 1970s and has starred in soap operas and an action movie.

However, King Vajiralongkorn said in a statement read out on all Thai television stations within hours of her candidacy being announced that it was “inappropriate” for members of the royal family to enter politics. (Reuters)

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