The princess of Thailand, Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi has been nominated by Thai Raksa Chart, a party founded by allies of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, for contesting as the prime minister of the country for the long-delayed general elections.
The princess has already been registered as a candidate which marks the fort time that a member of the royal family would get involved in direct politics and would be running for an official post in the history of the country.
When the princess got married to a US national in 1972, she was stripped of her royal title. But after her divorced, she returned back to Thailand in the late 1990s. Despite the royal family not returning back her royal title, she is treated and regarded as a part of the royal family by the masses in the country.
She said that she was excited to be able to participate in the elections and in agreeing to the nomination Thai Raksa Chart.
“I have relinquished my royal titles and lived as a commoner,” she said in an Instagram post. “I have accepted the Thai Raksa Chart Party’s nomination for prime minister to show my rights and freedom without any privileges above other fellow Thai citizens under the constitution.”
A king time friend of the Shinawatra family, Ubolratana is also known for the lead roles she plays in Thai films. The Shinawatra family is expected to have significant influence in the March 24 national elections because of the multiple proxy political parties it has.
This time, no member of the Shinawatra family has been fielded directly.
Thai politics, which in itself is unpredictable, added another level with this nomination as such an event has never ever occurred in Thai politics. Despite being the most powerful body in Thailand, the royal family has never directly engaged in politics in the country and has always kept itself above politics.
Whether King Vajiralongkorn approves the nomination of the princes is not yet clear.
However a question about whether the nomination of the princess violated the election laws that bar any political party from using the monarchy in campaigns was raised with the Election Commission of the country by a small pro-military party – the People’s Reform Party. It is the prerogative of the Election Commission to endorse or reject all candidates and that has to be done within a week from now.
In a separate development, his intention of contesting the elections for the post of the prime minister of the country was also made clear in a statement by the head of Thailand’s military government – Prayuth Chan-ocha. He would be contesting on behalf of the pro-army Palang Pracharat party. After toppling over the administration of Yingluck Shinawatra, Thaksin’s sister, in a coup in 2014, Prayuth seized power and declared himself as the prime minister.
Since 1932, constitutional monarchy has reigned in Thailand. Despite this, there is great devotion for the royal family among the people of Thailand.
(Adapted from Aljazeera.com)