Thai princess decision to run for prime minister in March elections in an unprecedented entry by the royal into politics, pitting her against the chief of the ruling junta and redrawing the nation’s political landscape was actually fueled by a couple of reason.
Princess Ubolratana, who is currently 67 is the older sister of Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn. Ubolratana was announced as a candidate for the Thai Raksa Chart party steered by the divisive Shinawatra political clan.
The Thai monarchy, is a revered institution that has been shielded from criticism by a tough defamation law. Traditionally speaking, they have been seen as above the political fray, although royals have intervened in moments of political crisis.
Ubolratana’s nomination has electrified the buildup to a March 24 election which had seemed poised to return the junta and its proxies to power in some form.
Her involvement gives a royal sheen to Thaksin Shinawatra’s political machine, which has continually won every election since 2001.
And it also potentially builds a bridge between Thaksin’s “Red” shirted supporters and the “Yellow” shirts who are arch royalists. Deadly violence and disruption linked to the two groups has defined Thailand’s turbulent last decade.
“Thank you for all the love and encouragement,” the princess, who gave up her royal titles to marry a foreigner, said in a typically colourful Instagram post on Friday afternoon.
“I want to clarify that I have relinquished the rank of nobility and am living as a commoner … I allowed Thai Raksa Chart Party to use my name for the nomination to the prime minister’s post.”