Thai court disbands political party for nominating princess

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Leader of Thai Raksa Chart political party Preechapol Pongpanich, center, leaves from party headquarters to appear in the Constitutional Court in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, March 7, 2019. Thailand's Constitutional Court expected to issue ruling on whether to dissolve the Thai Raksa Chart political party, less than three weeks before long-delayed elections. The party has been threatened with dissolution for having nominated King Maha Vajiralongkorn's sister as its candidate for prime minister, an unprecedented move that the monarch declared was inappropriate and unconstitutional. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Bangkok (AP) — Thailand’s Constitutional Court has ordered the dissolution of a major political party ahead of this month’s general election because it nominated a member of the royal family to be its candidate for prime minister.

The Thai Raksa Chart Party on Feb. 8 nominated Princess Ubolratana Mahidol as its candidate for the March 24 polls. However, her brother His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn later that day issued a royal order calling the nomination highly inappropriate and unconstitutional.

The court’s ruling Thursday also banned members of the party’s executive board from political activity for 10 years.

Thai Raksa Chart is aligned with former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and its dissolution is expected to hinder efforts by parties loyal to Thaksin to form the next government.