Thai court dissolves party for nominating princess for PM
Updated 21:43, 07-Mar-2019
CGTN
04:26

A key party linked to Thailand's powerful Shinawatra clan was dissolved Thursday by a court, just weeks before a general election, over its ill-starred bid to front a princess as a candidate for premier

Thai Raksa Chart, which is tied to ex-premiers Thaksin and Yingluck Shinawatra, proposed Princess Ubolratana as its prime ministerial candidate if its bloc emerged with a lower house majority after the March 24 election. 

It was an unprecedented move in a constitutional monarchy where royals are officially above the political fray, and prompted a rare public rebuke by her younger brother, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who issued a royal command declaring the party's move "inappropriate." 

Journalists record a live TV broadcast of a judge delivering the decision of the Constitutional Court in Bangkok to dissolve the Thai Raksa Chart Party, March 7, 2019. /VCG Photo

Journalists record a live TV broadcast of a judge delivering the decision of the Constitutional Court in Bangkok to dissolve the Thai Raksa Chart Party, March 7, 2019. /VCG Photo

Thai Raksa Chart was found guilty of committing an act "hostile to the constitutional monarchy" by the nine-member Constitutional Court, which unanimously voted to dissolve the party. Party executives – including two Shinawatra family members – were also banned from politics for a decade. 

"The monarchy is above politics and to maintain political neutrality, the king, the queen and princesses can never exercise political rights by casting votes," judge Nakharin Mektrairat said at the end of an extensive ruling. 

Dissolution is a hammer blow to the prospects of the powerful Shinawatras winning a parliamentary majority at the polls. Thai Raksa Chart was established to back up the Shinawatras' main political vehicle Pheu Thai, which won the 2011 elections with a landslide. 

Conversely, its downfall – the party lasted for just four months – is a major fillip to its army-allied rivals who are fielding current junta leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha as their candidate for premier. 

Thailand's Princess Ubolratana attends a procession to transfer the royal relics and ashes of late King Bhumibol Adulyadej from the crematorium to the Grand Palace in Bangkok, October 27, 2017. /VCG Photo

Thailand's Princess Ubolratana attends a procession to transfer the royal relics and ashes of late King Bhumibol Adulyadej from the crematorium to the Grand Palace in Bangkok, October 27, 2017. /VCG Photo

Grim-faced party executives, all dressed in black suits and led by party leader Preechapol Pongpanich, filed out of the Constitutional Court through the ranks of media. 

Fighting back the tears, Preechapol told reporters the party was "extremely saddened" by the dissolution, a ruling which "will affect the rights and freedoms" of candidates and voters. 

Princess Ubolratana on Thursday called the court ruling to dissolve the party that nominated her "sad and depressing."

"It's a very sad and depressing story," the princess said in an Instagram comment, replying to supporters informing her of the news.

The princess, who broke with royal tradition by attempting to enter politics, is in Germany, according to her posts on Instagram.

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Source(s): AFP ,Reuters