By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ANKARA (AA) - In an unusual move, stunning many in and out of the country, a member of the royal monarchy has jumped in the upcoming election to run for prime minister in Thailand, local media reported on Friday.
Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi, the elder sister of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn, will be prime ministerial candidate for the Thai Raksa Chart Party in elections slated for March 24, the local daily The Nation cited her as saying.
Her remarks came as a confirmation after the party registered her as a candidate at the Thai EC today following which the announcement was made by Thai Raksa Chart Party leader Preechapol Pongpanich.
“Princess as its sole [PM] candidate. She is knowledgeable and is highly suitable. I believe there will be no legal problems in terms of her qualification, but we have to wait for the Election Commission to endorse her candidacy,” Pongpanich told reporters.
However, People’s Reform Party challenged her nomination asking Thai EC Election Commission to rule whether the nomination of princess for the prime minister's job breached electoral laws.
“The move is a serious blow to plans by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) to extend power via the March 24 elections,” said the Bangkok Post.
She is the first member of Buddhist-majority Thailand’s royal family to join elections.
Her party is an opposition group founded by the allies of former prime ministers Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister Yingluck, who was ousted in the 2014 coup.
If her nomination is accepted by Thai election commission, she will pit against the current Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who was formerly the army general of Thailand, in the upcoming elections.
The commission is required to endorse all candidates by next Friday.
There is no immediate reaction from Thai Royal family when this report was filed.
The country has been a constitutional-monarchy since 1932 where the executive is elected by people, however, the king yields much influence. Thai army has traditionally remained loyal to the monarch and his family.