In Summary
  • Uncertainty and conjecture have coursed through Thailand since Friday when the Thai Raksa Chart party made the explosive announcement.
  • Despite its brevity, the princess's foray into politics has electrified the political landscape of the country, as speculation over who wins and loses from her tilt ricochets across the kingdom.

BANGKOK,

Thai Princess Ubolratana was on Monday formally disqualified for running for prime minister, ending her brief and ill-fated political union with a party allied to the powerful Shinawatra clan, just days after a stern royal command rebuking her candidacy was issued by her brother, the king.

Uncertainty and conjecture have coursed through Thailand since Friday when the Thai Raksa Chart party made the explosive announcement of Princess Ubolratana, King Maha Vajiralongkorn's elder sister, as their candidate for premier after the March 24 election.

Her tilt appeared to some to be a masterstroke of back-room dealings by Thaksin Shinawatra, the billionaire self-exiled ex-premier, just weeks before the poll.

But just hours later it fell apart.

COMMAND

A royal command from the king put a pin in her unprecedented political aspirations, insisting the monarchy was above politics and describing his sister's candidacy as "highly inappropriate".

Thailand's incredibly wealthy and powerful monarchy is revered by Thais and protected by a draconian lese majeste law. The king's word is seen as final.

On Monday the Election Commission formally scratched her candidacy.

"The EC today has announced the name of candidates excluding Princess Ubolratana proposed by the Thai Raksa Chart party," it said in a statement, explaining "all royal family members are above politics."

ELECTRIFIED

Despite its brevity, the princess's foray into politics has electrified the political landscape of the country, as speculation over who wins and loses from her tilt ricochets across the kingdom.

Chatter of an impending coup against the ruling junta leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha and a major change in army top brass has billowed out, with the hashtag #coup trending in the top 10 on Thai Twitter.

On Monday junta chief Prayut on Monday was forced to dismiss rumours of an impending coup as "fake news".

"Rumours...? We're investigating. Fake news," he told reporters at Government House.

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