Thai Raksa Chart party suspends Princess Ubolratana's campaign

Thai Raksa Chart party said it will obey a command by the country's king, who called the princess' run 'inappropriate'.

    Thai Raksa Chart party suspends Princess Ubolratana's campaign
    The king did not criticise Princess Ubolratana directly and seemed to focus blame on political party members who brought her on board [File: Pongmanat Tasiri/EPA]

    The Thai Raksa Chart Party in Thailand has cancelled its campaigning plans for the upcoming elections after the king rejected his sister's candidacy for prime minister.

    "Thai Raksa Chart party complies with the royal command," the party said in a statement sent out to reporters.

    Any campaigning for the princess would be suspended as the party assessed its options going ahead, the party, founded by allies of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, said.

    "Right now we have to reorganize and we will release a statement shortly concerning our future plans," a senior party member told DPA news agency requesting anonymity.

    The announcement comes only a day after the party put Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi forward as a candidate for the upcoming elections in March.

    Thailand is a constitutional monarchy and has not had a royal run for front line office since 1932.

    The move rattled the status quo and threatened the ambitions of the military government that has ruled Thailand since it toppled the administration of Yingluck Shinawatra in a 2014 coup.

    Following the announcement, Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn called his older's sister's plans "inappropriate" and unconstitutional.

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    The king did not criticise the princess directly and seemed to focus blame on political party members who brought her on board.

    In a written statement, Vajiralongkorn said Princess Ubolratana is "highly respected by all the royal family members" but that the monarchy in Thailand should remain above politics.

    "Her involvement in politics is against the long-standing national tradition and very inappropriate," the statement said.

    The 67-year-old princess did not address the royal rebuke on Saturday morning when she thanked supporters on her widely followed Instagram account and said vaguely that she wanted Thailand to "move forward".

    The election committee has also not responded to her announcement yet, saying its members would gather on Monday.

    ""The election commission will convene first thing Monday morning and discuss what has happened in the last 24 hours," Al Jazeera correspondent Scott Heidler said from Bangkok.

    According to Heidler, that meeting was set up even before the king issued his statement as the Ubolratana's candidacy was challenged by the pro-military party.

    "We have also heard the constitutional court might get involved because both the king and the pro-military party said it was unconstitutional," Heidler added.

    Thai Raksa Chart is politically aligned with Yingluck Shinawatra, who was removed from office in 2014 by the military government Chief Prayut Chan-Ocha, who has also announced he would run for office.

    Ubolratana was expected to be one of his main opponents.

    Despite being a constitutional monarchy since 1932, Thailand's royal family has wielded great influence and commanded the devotion of millions.

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    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies