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Thai poll body seeks to dissolve party for nominating Princess

Thai poll body seeks to dissolve party for nominating Princess
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 poll body resolved on Tuesday to petition the Constitutional Court to take into consideration the dissolution of the Thai Raksa Chart Party. The commissioners primarily charged that party's nomination had violated Article 92 of the Constitution's organic law on political parties.

The party had on last Friday filed the nomination of Princess Ubolratana Mahidol for March polls. Following the poll body's announcement, the party vowed to fight the decision to dissolve the group. The Election Commission was expected to 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.

Late on Tuesday night, the Princess posted a message on Instagram to apologize for the controversy her nomination had caused. "I am sorry that my sincere intention to work for the country and my fellow Thai people has caused a problem that should never occur in our time", Ubolratana said. 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.

The Princess' nomination was effectively blocked in a matter of hours last week when King Maha Vajiralongkorn called his sister's candidacy "extremely inappropriate". Following that, 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. 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. The March elections will be the first to be held in the country since 2014, when the vote was annulled by the Constitutional Court.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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