Thai princess named as prime minister candidate for Thaksin-linked party as junta chief Prayut joins race
BANGKOK - The elder sister of Thailand's king has been nominated to be prime minister for a party linked to former premier Thaksin Shinawatra while junta chief Prayut Chan-o-cha also announced his bid for the job, in a surprise development for the country's much-anticipated election on March 24.
Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya, 67, was the sole prime minister candidate nominated by the Thai Raksa Chart Party on Friday (Feb 8) morning as registration of candidates drew to a close.
Under Thailand's new electoral system, parties eyeing the premiership are required to name their candidates in advance.
Thai Raksa Chart Party is created by many former members of Pheu Thai Party, which won the last election in 2011 but was thrown out of power by a military coup in 2014. It is allied with Pheu Thai Party for the upcoming election.
The eldest child of former king Bhumibol Adulyadej, Princess Ubolratana relinquished her royal title at the age of 21 when she married a fellow student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After the couple divorced in 1998, she moved back to Thailand, where she continues to be treated as a royal.
Her activities are chronicled alongside those of her three siblings - including current King Maha Vajiralongkorn - in the regular television news bulletin about the royal family.