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Election bar for Thai princess

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE Feb 12, 2019
Thai Princess Ubolratana has been formally disqualified from running for prime minister, ending her brief and ill-fated political union with a party allied to the powerful Shinawatra clan. It happened days after a stern royal command rebuking her candidacy was issued by her brother, the king. Uncertainty and conjecture have coursed through Thailand since Friday when the Thai Raksa Chart party said Princess Ubolratana, King Maha Vajiralongkorn's elder sister, was their candidate for premier after the March 24 election. Her tilt appeared to some to be a masterstroke of back-room dealings by Thaksin Shinawatra, the billionaire self-exiled ex-premier. But a command from the king put a pin in her political aspirations, describing his sister's candidacy as "highly inappropriate." The Election Commission formally scratched her candidacy yesterday, saying all royal family members are above politics. Despite its brevity, the princess's foray into politics has electrified the political landscape. Chatter of an impending coup against the ruling junta leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha and a major change in army top brass has grown, with the hashtag #coup trending in the top 10 on Thai Twitter. Yesterday junta chief Prayut was forced to dismiss rumors of an impending coup as "fake news."


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