A Thai political party swore loyalty to the king, a day after its stunning decision to nominate the monarch’s sister as its candidate for prime minister backfired when the king called the move inappropriate and unconstitutional.
The statement of fealty comes as the country ponders a whirlwind in which Princess Ubolratana Mahidol broke with tradition proscribing the monarchy’s involvement with politics to become a candidate for the Thai Raksa Chart Party.
Then her brother, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, invalidated her action with a late night order.
Thai Raksa Chart’s statement said the party loyally accepted the king’s order and expressed deep gratitude to Ubolratana for her kindness towards the party.
Ubolratana, who is active on Instagram, did not directly mention the king’s order in a message, merely thanking people for their support and encouragement and insisting on her sincere desire to see Thailand progress with rights and opportunities for all its people.
Thailand’s March 24 election will be the country’s first since a 2014 military coup put in place a junta determined to reshape the political system to eradicate the influence of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whose allies have won every national election since 2001.
So it was not only a shock that Ubolratana was formally entering politics, but also that she was doing so in alliance with a Thaksin-backed party.
Her candidacy would have pitted her against the junta leader and current Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the preferred choice for premier of the pro-royalist military.
Thaksin was ousted by the military in a 2006 coup, and the country’s establishment has…