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Thailand EC disqualifies King's sister from running for PM

IANS  |  Bangkok 

Thailand's political landscape was gripped by uncertainty on Monday after Maha intervened in his elder sister Ubolratana Mahidol's bid to run for Prime Minister, leading the to reject her candidacy.

The Commission said on Monday that it had accepted 45 prime ministerial candidates nominated by different parties, but had not yet decided whether to dissolve the party that nominated the King's sister, news reported.

Ubolratana has been excluded from the list because "members of the royal family should hold themselves above politics", the Commission said in a statement. "They should remain politically neutral and should not hold any political office".

The statement followed a late night announcement by the on February 8, in which he called her bid to run in the election on March 24 "inappropriate", saying it would "defy the culture of the nation".

The could also be dissolved or banned for filing the nomination of the as its sole candidate, as the studied a petition that was filed on Monday to ban the party.

Meanwhile, a member of the Thai Raksa Chart retaliated with another petition to the poll body to reject the candidacy of current Prayut Chan-ocha, the of the military junta who led a coup in 2014 to overthrow the democratically-elected government.

His nomination was accepted by the Commission on Monday.

Princess Ubolratana's nomination last week as a candidate for caused a huge stir in Thailand, a country where the monarch is revered but whose members traditionally have stayed out of

After the called her candidacy "extremely inappropriate", the announced that it would adhere to the royal order and withdrew the Princess' nomination, leaving them without a prime ministerial candidate for the elections scheduled for next month.

Ubolratana's candidacy had initially been accepted by the Commission because she had formally relinquished her royal titles in 1972 following her marriage to an American, technically leaving her free to run in the election.

The events of the last few days generated such political uncertainty that in on Sunday were rife with rumours of an imminent coup after several tanks were reportedly seen in a province to the north of

However, military officials said the tanks were being moved amid preparations for the "Cobra Gold" defence exercises that are held annually in

Rungrueng Pittayasiri, an member of the Thai Raksa Chart party, on Monday submitted his resignation to the Election Commission, claiming he had nothing to do with the nomination of the Princess.

is linked to former Thaksin Shinawatra, whose has won every election that has been held since 2001. Shinawatra's sister was Prime Minister when the government was overthrown in a coup in 2014.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, February 11 2019. 21:06 IST