Thai Princess Ubolratana's unprecedented attempt to become the country's next prime minister was abruptly nixed Saturday after her party agreed to comply with a command from the king opposing the plan.
The party's announcement effectively blocking Ubolratana's candidacy came after an extraordinary rebuke by her brother King Maha Vajiralongkorn, and removes a hurdle for the ruling junta to hold onto power after the March 24 vote -- the first since a 2014 coup.
The Thai Raksa Chart party, affiliated with the powerful Shinawatra political clan, had announced the princess as their candidate Friday morning.
But the Thai king torpedoed his sister's bid in a sharply worded statement the same day that said bringing senior royal family members into politics was against tradition and "highly inappropriate".
Thai Raksa Chart responded swiftly, cancelling a campaign event Saturday and issuing a statement saying it "complies with the royal command".
Thailand has some of the most severe lese majeste laws in the world and the king's word is seldom challenged.
Royalist Thais and celebrities praised the intervention on social media after the order, writing "long live the king".
Others expressed unhappiness with groups such as Thai Raksa Chart linked to Yingluck and her brother Thaksin, who was ousted in a 2006 coup.
An activist who called himself Champ 1984 said he was "disappointed" with the idea of a pro-democracy party enlisting a royal family member and would now vote for a different party.
Analysts say the events of the past day will help the military to consolidate power and tilt the odds in favour of junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha.
Prayut is standing as premier for the Phalang Pracharat party, a group aligned with the regime.
Even before Thai Raksa Chart's reversal, many warned the palace statement had ended the princess' chances.
Thailand is a constitutional monarchy and has not had a royal run for frontline office since 1932.
She thanked supporters Saturday on her widely followed Instagram account, saying vaguely that she wanted Thailand to "move forward".
The king did not criticise the princess directly and seemed to focus blame on political party members who brought her on board.
Both Yingluck and Thaksin live in self-exile to avoid charges which they say are politically motivated.
Observers had said Thaksin and the party would not have teamed up with the princess without royal approval.
But the bold play appears to have backfired dramatically on Thaksin.
"After last night the king's intervention had an effect of discrediting Thaksin," Anusorn said.
She gave up her royal titles when she married an American in 1972, but they divorced and she moved back to Thailand.
While she said she was exercising her rights as a commoner to stand for prime minister, the statement from the palace said she is she is "still a member of the House of Chakri," referring to the name of the dynasty.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)