Thai King lambasts 'highly inappropriate' move to make princess PM
CGTN

Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn late Friday described an unprecedented move to make his older sister Princess Ubolratana prime minister as "highly inappropriate" and against "royal traditions."

Ubolratana, 67, the older sister of Vajiralongkorn, was announced hours earlier as a candidate in the upcoming elections for the Thai Raksa Chart party, which is steered by the divisive Shinawatra political clan.

Her shock entrance into frontline Thai politics was a first by a member of the powerful royal family and promised to reshape the political landscape of the country.

Thai Raksa Chart party leader Preechapol Pongpanich, holds up application of candidate for Prime Minister, Thailand's Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Varnavadi, at the election commission office in Bangkok, Thailand February 8, 2019. /VCG Photo

Thai Raksa Chart party leader Preechapol Pongpanich, holds up application of candidate for Prime Minister, Thailand's Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Varnavadi, at the election commission office in Bangkok, Thailand February 8, 2019. /VCG Photo

But a late-night statement from the palace left no doubt over the King's displeasure at the move.

"The king and royal family exist in a status above politics," said the statement, published in the Royal Gazette and given blanket television coverage.

The statement did not criticize Ubolratana, instead praising her public work.

But it appeared aimed at those behind her sudden stride into politics.

Election Commission registration badges sit on a desk at the organization's office in Bangkok, Thailand, on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. /VCG Photo

Election Commission registration badges sit on a desk at the organization's office in Bangkok, Thailand, on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. /VCG Photo

"To bring a senior royal family member into the political system in any way is against royal traditions and the nation's culture... which is very inappropriate."

While the monarchy, which is vastly wealthy and protected from criticism by a harsh royal defamation law, has been seen as above the political fray, royals have intervened in moments of political crisis.

In a day of high drama, junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha also declared his candidacy for premier, running for the pro-military Phalang Pracharat party, moments after the princess's announcement.

Election authorities have a week to review which candidates put up by each party are allowed to run for premier after the March 24 poll.

(Top image: Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn presiding over the annual royal ploughing ceremony outside Bangkok's royal palace on May 14, 2018. /VCG Photo)

Source(s): AFP