Thai king moves to block sister's run for office

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on February 9, 2019 - Duration: 01:44s

Thai king moves to block sister's run for office

Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn moves to block his elder sister's surprise bid to run for prime minister in March, calling her candidacy for a populist opposition party "inappropriate" and unconstitutional.

Michelle Hennessy reports.


Thai king moves to block sister's run for office

Thailand's Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya shocked the nation on Friday (February 8) when it was declared she was running for Prime Minister in upcoming elections.

But her move into politics is looking short-lived, after her younger brother - the King of Thailand - moved to block the bid.

Thai TV broadcast the King's message, where he called his elder sister's candidacy for a populist party quote - inappropriate and unconstitutional: NARRATOR READING KING'S MESSAGE ON SCREEN (Thai): "The involvement of a high-ranking member of the royal family in politics, in whatever way, is an act that conflicts with the country's traditions, customs, and culture, and therefore considered extremely inappropriate." NARRATOR READING KING'S MESSAGE ON SCREEN (Thai): "Therefore, the Queen, royal heirs and all royal family members adhere to the same principle of staying above politics and remaining neutral, and cannot take any political office, because it contradicts the intention of the constitution and the traditions of the constitutional monarchy." The March elections will be the first national ballot Thailand has seen since a military coup in 2014.

That ousted a government loyal to Thaksin Shinawatra.

He's been at the center of political turbulence and rival street protests that have divided Thailand for 15 years.

Thaksin and his party have at times been accused by enemies of being opposed to the monarchy.

Something he and his allies have always rejected.

The princess is supposed to be running for a party loyal to him.

But the King's message on Friday will likely lead to the Election Commission to disqualify her, or for the princess to drop out of the race.

The Election Commission declined to comment when contacted by Reuters late on Friday night, an official said its members will hold a meeting on Monday (February 11).

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