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Thailand’s right royal election fiasco

26 18 32

POLITICAL drama of the type that beset Thailand on 8 February is not new. In the course of a single day, King Vajiralongkorn’s elder sister broke historical precedent by registering as a prime ministerial candidate — a move that the King himself condemned as unconstitutional and inappropriate only hours later.

Two days later, an acute observer of Thai politics, Prajak Kongkirati tweeted, “After the earthquake, beware the strong aftershocks”. What are the repercussions of recent events likely to be for Thailand’s elections scheduled for 24 March?

The first week of February was a more joyful week in Thai politics than has been witnessed for some time. Although the Electoral Commission restricted the scope for parades and festivities, registration of parliamentary candidates — including 45 parties nominating 69 party list candidates for prime minister — was conducted with enthusiasm.

SEE ALSO: Thailand’s elections in 2019 will test Prayuth’s political strategy

Media and political analysts reported on election-related developments with great interest. The Thai people’s appetite for democratic process was obvious and undiminished. Then the bombshell.

Details are now emerging of how it came to pass that Thai Raksa Chart, a Thai political party affiliated with the exiled billionaire and former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, nominated Princess Ubolratana as a prime ministerial candidate.

It appears that the two developed a plan without the consent of the reigning monarch — a massive misjudgement. Less than 12 hours after the Princess’ nomination, the palace vetoed the nomination, calling it “tantamount to breaching time-honoured royal traditions,........

© Asian Correspondent