By: Paige Hubbard
A Thai court on Thursday (March 7) ordered the dissolution of an opposition party for nominating the king’s sister as its candidate for prime minister in a March 24 election, the first since the military seized power in a 2014 coup.
Princess Ubolratana is the sister to King Maha Vajiralongkorn who strongly opposed his sister’s nomination.
He said it would “inappropriate” and unconstitutional.
Banning the Thai Raksa Chart party just over two weeks before the general election struck a blow to opposition parties’ chances of defeating parties allied to the military junta that has ruled for nearly five years.
“The court has ordered that the party be dissolved,” Judge Taweekiet Meenakanit said in the Constitutional Court ruling, which also banned the party’s executive board members from politics for 10 years.
Thai Raksa Chart is one of several parties loyal to ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in an election that broadly pits his supporters against establishment parties, including one that has junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha as its prime ministerial candidate.
Police had deployed more than 1,000 officers in and around the court and cordoned off the surrounding area ahead of the ruling. Supporters were seen crying, saying they would vote instead for other opposition parties.
The princess relinquished her royal titles in 1972 but is still officially treated as a senior member of the royal family, which is highly revered in Thailand.