Thai court accepts dissolution case over princess nomination

BANGKOK (AP) – A Thai court said yesterday that it will take up the case of whether to dissolve a political party that nominated a member of the royal family as its candidate for Prime Minister in next month’s general election.

Thailand’s Constitutional Court made the announcement just a day after the Election Commission recommended the Thai Raksa Chart Party be dissolved over its February 8 nomination of Princess Ubolratana Mahidol.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn issued a royal order just hours after his sister’s nomination that deemed the political bid inappropriate and unconstitutional. The then party professed its loyalty to the monarch and accepted his order.

The court said in a statement that the charges are being forwarded to the party, which will have seven days to respond. It scheduled the next hearing for February 27.

Ubolratana’s bid to become prime minister was particularly notable because she allied herself with Thai Raksa Chart, which is part of the political machine of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Thaksin was ousted in a 2006 military coup and is loathed by many royalists and others in the country’s traditional establishment, who accuse him of corruption and disrespect to the monarchy.

Ubolratana’s candidacy could have pitted her against the preferred candidate of the pro-royalist military, junta leader and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who led the 2014 coup that overthrew an elected government led by Thaksin’s sister.