What Happened: The Thai Raksa Chart Party, which nominated Princess Ubolratana Mahidol to run for prime minister, said on Feb. 9 that it will comply with King Maha Vajiralongkorn's wishes after he declared his sister's bid inappropriate and unconstitutional, BBC reported.
Why It Matters: Vajiralongkorn's declaration likely would have prompted Thailand's Election Commission to disqualify Ubolratana even if Thai Raksa Chart hadn't declared its fealty to his order. Still, Ubolratana's announcement not only shocked Thailand because she was breaking with the tradition of the Thai royal family publicly staying out of politics, but also because she was siding with a party allied with exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Her unprecedented candidacy would have pitted her against current Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, the preferred choice of the pro-royalist military.
Background: Parliamentary elections on March 24 are being closely watched as the first chance for Thailand to return to democracy after a military coup in 2014.
- Thailand: Will a Princess's Decision to Run for Prime Minister Upend Thai Politics? (Feb. 8, 2019)
- Thailand: Still Trying to Free Itself From the Family of Thais That Bind (Aug. 25, 2017)
- Thailand Embarks on a New Era (Oct. 14, 2016)