Constitutional Court due to discuss Thai Raksa Chart fate

Thai princess apologizes after being disqualified from PM run

Thai princess apologizes after being disqualified from PM run

The Thai Raksa Chart party, which took the unprecedented and ultimately unsuccessful step of nominating a member of the royal family as its candidate for prime minister, is fighting for its political life as the Election Commission says it has recommended that it be dissolved.

Ubolratana was later disqualified as a candidate by the EC following HM King's command that she was still a member of the Royal Family and should stay above politics.

Thailand has been mired in political drama since last Friday, when Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya's name was submitted by Thai Raksa Chart, a party allied with the powerful Shinawatra clan.

The court said it would decide on Thursday whether or not to accept the case. His main party, Pheu Thai, has faced the threat of dissolution for some time since the country's military junta ordered an investigation into whether he still controlled the party. Electoral laws forbid involving the monarchy in political campaigns.

Princess Ubolratana's latest post on Instagram will appear to some as a quiet rebuke of the events of the past week.

"I am sorry my genuine intention to work for the country and Thai people has caused such problems that shouldn't have happened in this era", she said in an Instagram post on Tuesday.

Thai Raksa Chart's leader, Preechaphol Pongpanit, has said his partydid everything "sincerely, with good intentions", but added: "Above us is His Majesty and the monarchy".

"We must wait for [the court's] process", he said. He cited the Political Parties Act and the Constitution.

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But Thai monarchs have intervened in times of political crisis since 1932 when the country became a constitutional monarchy.

However, they could hope to run in the next election.

Parties overseen by Thaksin have won all elections since 2001.

Three pro-Thaksin parties running in this year's election were seen as posing the greatest challenge to Prayuth and pro-military parties, and recruiting the glamorous 67-year-old Ubolratana to their cause was initially seen as boosting their odds. Ubolratana had given up her royal titles in 1972 after marrying an American.

The Thai Raksa Charty Party had earlier requested "fair treatment" from the EC on whether the party should be disbanded. Thaksin's base could be energized by the perception that their side is facing unfair persecution, he said, while royalists might be stirred to carry on the long-running fight against him.

The military deposed Mr Thaksin in 2006 and ever since Thai politics have been locked in a cycle of his allies winning elections and later being ousted from power by court rulings or coups - most recently in 2014. It would also deepen concerns about the fairness of the March 24 poll, the first since the coup.

Voice TV CEO Mekin Petplai said the move was unfair and "affects freedom of the press" in the run-up towards the election. Voice TV, which also maintains an online presence, is owned by Thaksin's son and has faced several previous suspensions.

"That action is considered hostile to the constitutional monarchy", it said.

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