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Thai princess to run for PM with Shinawatra party

AFP  |  Bangkok 

A Thai will stand as a candidate for in upcoming elections for a party run by the divisive Shinawatra political clan, a stunning twist that deals a blow to the ruling junta's hopes of maintaining its grip on politics.

The 67-year-old Ubolratana, the older sister of Thai Maha Vajiralongkorn, will stand for on behalf of the Thai Raksa Chart party, it said Friday.

"The (party) board agrees that the name of Ubolratana, an educated and skilled person, is the most suitable choice," told reporters.

The party falls under the tutelage of Thaksin Shinawatra, a billionaire self-exiled former premier, who stands at the heart of Thailand's bitter decade-long political schism -- loathed by the and elite, yet adored by the rural poor.

The announcement pits a royal-fronted party tied to the Shinawatras directly against a military party, whose own candidate was also announced Friday as junta Prayut Chan-O-Cha.

Prayut has headed the junta for nearly five years, scripting a new constitution in a bid to recast the entire political system to ensure the has a foothold on power after elections on March 24.

But the shock entrance of is likely to throw the military's plans into disarray. Ubolratana, a colourful, public-facing royal in contrast to her more restrained brother Maha Vajiralongkorn, relinquished her royal titles after marrying an American decades ago.

But the couple eventually divorced and she moved back to where she is still considered part of the royal family.

has not had a royal as since becoming a constitutional monarchy in 1932.

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

First Published: Fri, February 08 2019. 08:55 IST
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