Thai princess apologises for causing 'problems' with run for Prime Minister

SANTA MONICA, CA - NOVEMBER 03:  Her Royal Highness Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi (M, seated) poses for portrait with Deputy Minister of Commerce, Royal Thai Government Mr. Suvit Maesincee (middle, left), Director-General of Department of International Trade Promotion, Ministry of Finace Mrs. Malee Choklumlerd (middle, right) and other dignitaries at Thai Film Industry Hosts AFM 2016 Presided over by the Princess of Thailand on November 3, 2016 in Santa Monica, California.  (Photo by Michael Bezjian/WireImage)
Photo credit: Getty

The Thai king's sister, disqualified this week by the Election Commission from running for prime minister, has apologised for causing "problems" for the Thai people ahead of next month's election.

Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi's comments on Tuesday (local time) came a day after the commission dropped her name from an official list of candidates for prime minister.

The commission said members of the royal family should stay above politics, echoing a sharp rebuke from King Maha Vajiralongkorn that her bid was "inappropriate" and unconstitutional.

"I am sorry my genuine intention to work for the country and Thai people has caused such problems that shouldn't have happened in this era," she said on Instagram after making a public appearance in central Thailand.

Some social media users urged her to serve the people as a member of the royal family, but the princess responded: "I don't want to be in that position anymore. I gave that up a long time ago."

Her unprecedented nomination by a party allied with populist ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra unsettled the Southeast Asian nation, where the monarchy is revered by millions of Thais and remains above politics.

The Election Commission is also considering dissolving the Thai Raksa Chart party as a result of the nomination. Electoral laws forbid involving the monarchy in political campaigns.

The party urged the body to be fair in its ruling.

The March 24 election is set to be a showdown between the military-backed, royalist Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and supporters of Thaksin, who was ousted in a 2006 coup and forced into exile, but remains immensely popular.

Reuters

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