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News > World

Thailand: Opposition Party Disqualified for Nominating Princess

  • Thai Raksa Chart party leader Preechapol Pongpanich and members of his party arrive at the Constitutional Court in Bangkok.

    Thai Raksa Chart party leader Preechapol Pongpanich and members of his party arrive at the Constitutional Court in Bangkok. | Photo: Reuters

Published 8 March 2019

The selection of the princess was intended to refute claims that the Thai Raksa Chart party was loyal to overthrown former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and does not support the monarchy. 

A prominent opposition party in Thailand, the Thai Raksa Chart, has been disqualified from the upcoming elections due to the party's nomination of the king's sister, Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi. 


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The move was intended to refute accusations by Thai Raksa Chart party opponents that claim its members, who are loyal to overthrown former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, are inadequate in their support of the monarchy. Self-exiled Thaksin, who was unseated in a coup d'etat in 2014, denies this claim. 

The princess, who relinquished her royal titles in 1972, has not commented on the court decision, but stated that she wants to "continue moving ahead in working for Thailand." Her brother, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, called the nomination "inappropriate" and unconstitutional, vehemently opposing the move, alluding the decision as a sign that the Thai Raksa Chart party's devotion to the monarchy has backfired.

The case was brought to the court by the Election Commission, which called the nomination "antagonistic towards the constitutional monarchy."

The main indicator of the party's failing plan was the Constitutional Court's decision to "dissolve the party," as well as the banning of 14 party executives from participating in politics for the next 10 years. Some 300 candidates who planned to represent the party in the March 24 elections have not been banned from politics, but, "they are prevented from taking part in this election," the court's Judge Twekiat Menakanist ruled.

The decision to dissolve the party was unanimous, while the penalties given to the party executives were only passed by two-thirds of the committee.

According to Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a political scientist at Chulalongkorn University, "dissolving Thai Raksa Chart... would lead to a kind of disenfranchisement because Thai Raksa Chart forms a large chunk of the pro-Thaksin party team," but adding that, he believes, the votes will go to another pro-Thaksin party rather than to pro-military candidates. 

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