Thai court dissolves party for nominating princess for PM , Latest World News - The New Paper

Thai court dissolves party for nominating princess for PM

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BANGKOK: Thailand's Constitutional Court yesterday ordered the dissolution of an opposition party for nominating the king's sister as its candidate for prime minister in the March 24 election.

Banning the Thai Raksa Chart party just over two weeks before the general election struck a blow to opposition parties' chances of defeating parties allied to the military junta that has ruled since a coup d'etat in 2014.

"The court has ordered that the party be dissolved," Judge Taweekiet Meenakanit said in the ruling, which also banned the party's executive board members from politics for 10 years.

Thai Raksa Chart is one of several parties loyal to ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in an election that broadly pits his supporters against establishment parties, including one that has junta leader Prayut Chan-o-cha as its prime ministerial candidate.

Police had deployed more than 1,000 officers in and around the court and cordoned off the surrounding area ahead of the ruling.

Party leader Preechapol Pongpanich, who was visibly emotional, told reporters outside the court the party accepted the ruling. "We all had good intentions for the country," he said.

The Election Commission asked the court to dissolve the party after it nominated Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi for prime minister, which the commission described as "antagonistic toward the constitutional monarchy".

King Maha Vajiralongkorn opposed her nomination, calling it "inappropriate" and unconstitutional and her candidacy was swiftly disqualified by the Election Commission. - REUTERS