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Thai poll body seeks to dissolve party for nominating Princess
Bangkok, Feb 13 (IANS) Thailand’s Election Commission announced on Wednesday that it is seeking the dissolution of a political party for nominating Princess Ubolratana Mahidol as its candidate for Prime Minister in the upcoming polls.
The Thai Raksa Chart Party last Friday filed the nomination of Princess Ubolratana Mahidol for March polls.
The poll body resolved on Tuesday to petition the Constitutional Court to take into consideration the dissolution of the party. The commissioners primarily charged that party’s nomination had violated Article 92 of the Constitution’s organic law on political parties.
The Election Commission would send representatives to the Constitutional Court to submit the petition to dissolve the party on Wednesday, according to a statement cited by Xinhua news agency.
The announcement came a day after the political party said it would go ahead with its poll campaign.
The Princess’ unexpected nomination was effectively blocked in a matter of hours last week when King Maha Vajiralongkorn released a televised statement calling his sister’s candidacy "extremely inappropriate".
The nomination of Ubolratana – who relinquished her royal titles in 1972 following her marriage to an American – caused a huge stir in Thailand, a country where the monarch is revered but whose members have traditionally stayed out of politics.
On Saturday, the party announced the withdrawal of the princess’ candidacy, and on Monday the poll body confirmed her disqualification citing text from the royal statement, leaving Thai Raksa Chart without a prime-ministerial candidate.
The dissolution of the party would imply banning members of its executive from politics for 10 years and prevent them from contesting the upcoming elections on March 24, even as members of other parties, according to Efe news.
Thai Raksa Chart Party is linked to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whose Puea Thai Party has won every election held since 2001, owing to support among the rural population of the northeast due to his populist policies. But his growing power generated hostility within the Army and the Bangkok elite.
Thaksin was deposed in 2006 in a coup and has been living in self-imposed exile since 2008. His sister Yingluck won the 2011 elections, but her government was overthrown in another coup in 2014 and she joined her brother in exile.
The March elections will be the first to be held in the country since 2014, when the vote was annulled by the Constitutional Court.