In less than 24 hours, King Maha Vajiralongkorn appears to have blocked sister’s bid for Thai Prime Minister. Earlier this morning, the Thai Raksa Chart party nominated Princess Ubolratana as their candidate. The one person that could have stopped her bid has done just that. The King released a statement tonight calling it inappropriate for a member of the Royal Family to enter into politics. When accepting her nomination, Ubolratana specifically clarified that she is now a commoner, relinquishing her royal title decades ago after marrying a foreigner.
The people of Thailand were electrified with Her Royal Highness Princess Ubolratana entering the election. Almost as soon as a bright, prosperous future looked to be in sight with Ubolratana as Prime Minister, it was over. Legally, Princess Ubolratana’s claim as commoner is legit. However, the King holds the top position in Thailand. His statement denouncing his sister’s bid casts a cloud of gloom over the election and the Thai people. A return to democracy was possible with Ubolratana. Now it would seem that current Prime Minister and military junta head, Prayut Chan-o-cha, remains the election’s front-runner.
Prayut Chan-o-cha claims the military stands at guard for the Royal Family. King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s connection with Prayut, who created the current constitution, spells certain doom for any political challengers. At first, Thai people believed that the King must have backed his sister for her to accept entry into politics. It has now been made very clear that this assumption was wrong. Citizens view Prayut and the military junta as the party of Thailand’s elite and the King’s preferred ruling party. Meanwhile, they view Princess Ubolratana and the Thai Raksa Chart party as populists who often go against the monarchy. It’s for this reason that commoners are not in favor of the current King, even though lese majeste laws prevent them from saying so. Thus, the King has just delivered a huge blow to the people.
Princess Ubolratana has since used Instagram to thank the people for the overwhelming support. The Election Commission has a week to determine a candidate’s eligibility. Yet, with the King making his stance now known, the committee will be likely to disqualify Princess Ubolratana. If that is the case, we further expect it possible for protests to become more visible in the coming days and weeks. Many people are still at unease at how the military junta led a coup against the last Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. This much we know for sure, after the 2014 military coup, Thailand has once again been thrown at the top of the world’s most important political news.
Our original post on Princess Ubolratana accepting nomination can be read here – Princess Ubolratana to Run for Thai PM