Thailand election 2019: Princess disqualified from prime minister bid

Thai junta chief says coup conjecture is ‘fake news

The King of Thailand has expressed his objection to Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi's controversial registration as a candidate for the Prime Minister of Thailand in the upcoming Thai general election, which is scheduled to take place on the 24th next month.

Since Thaksin was ousted by a military coup in 2006, Thailand's establishment has had little success in trying to weaken his political machine with constitutional amendments, court rulings and changes to the electoral system.

The commissioners voted to shoot down the nomination just three days after His Majesty the King barred Princess Ubolratana Mahidol, 68, from the race for the top government job on the grounds that royal family members can not get involved in politics.

Thai law stipulates that once a name is submitted, it can not be withdrawn - though the Electoral Commission has the power to decide the legitimacy of candidates.

The commission released the official list of parties' candidates for prime minister without the name of Princess Ubolratana, 67, the older sister of the king.

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Fears of the third military coup since 2006 - just weeks from a planned election on March 24 - were reignited after tanks appeared and army chiefs were dispatched to Munich, in Germany, where the king resides.

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

The princess was put forward by the Thai Raksa Chart party, steered by the divisive Shinawatra political clan, backed by Taskin Shinawatra - the former owner of Manchester City football club.

"The royal announcement made it clear that the party violated electoral law", said Mr Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Constitution.

Thai Raksa Chart's executive chairman Chaturon Chaisaeng declined to comment on the request to disband it.

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On Saturday, Paiboon said that although the princess has relinquished her royal title by law to become a commoner decades ago, she is still a royal family member by tradition, and members of the monarchy could not be involved in politics.

Announcing his candidacy yesterday, Mr Prayuth said he was running to "maintain peace and order" of the last five years despite a campaign to tighten controls on opposition parties which has led to democratic elections being delayed.

After unusually blunt criticism from King Vajiralongkorn, the Thai Raksa Chart party had no choice but to accept his instruction that members of the royal family could not be brought into politics.

"Things are now more unpredictable", Titipol told Reuters.

Dissolving Thai Raksa Chart could hand more seats to military-affiliated parties or other established parties, as well as a separate youth-oriented populist party.

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Thaksin has lived in self-imposed exile in England since he was deposed.

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