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Princess Ubolratana disqualified as Thai PM candidate

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Addis Ababa, February 11, 2019 (FBC) – Thailand’s Election Commission has disqualified the sister of the king from running for prime minister after King Maha Vajiralongkorn called the bid “inappropriate”, ending a stunning, short-lived candidacy for a populist party.

The commission released the official list of parties’ candidates for prime minister on Monday without the name of Princess Ubolratana, the older sister of the king.

Members of the royal family should be “above politics” and therefore cannot “hold any political office”, the commission said in a statement, echoing the wording of a public statement from the king on Friday.

The 67-year-old princess had accepted the nomination of Thai Raksa Chart party, made up of supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Her shock nomination broke with a long-standing tradition of members of the royal family staying out of politics.

Thailand has been a constitutional monarchy since 1932, but the royal family wields great influence and commands the devotion of millions.

Ubolratana was stripped of her royal title when she married a US national in 1972.

She returned to Thailand in the late 1990s after getting a divorce. Although her formal title was not restored, she is regarded as and treated like royalty by people in Thailand, according to Aljazeera.