Thai Raksa Chart Party leader Preechapol Pongpanich (centre) along with his party members arrive for the election registration at the Election Commission in Bangkok, on Feb 8, 2019.PHOTO: EPA-EFE
BANGKOK - The Thai political party that was thwarted in its bid to nominate a princess for the post of prime minister has put up a brave face under the threat of dissolution, pledging to carry on with its campaign for the March 24 election.
"We as a political party have made commitment to the people and our members to take part in this election," said Thai Raksa Chart leader Preechapol Pongpanit on Tuesday ( Feb 12) at his party headquarters. "We are sincere in our wish to see the country move forward.
He said he was not concerned with the possibility that his party may be dissolved for flouting election rules.
"We have followed all rules and regulations," he told Thai media. "Now we are running our campaigns and getting ready for the election. Whatever decision made will be heeded by us."
He sidestepped reporters' questions on whether the party's executives will resign. "We have good intentions," he said. "We will humbly abide by the royal order."
Thai Raksa Chart had stunned the country last Friday (Feb 8) after it nominated Princesss Ubolratana Rajakanya - the elder sister of King Maha Vajiralongkorn - for the post of prime minister. New election rules imposed after the 2014 coup require political parties to publicise names of the individuals they intend to propose as prime minister before the election.
But the monarch intervened late on Friday night, saying in a statement that Princess Ubolratana "has been maintaining her status as a member of the Chakri royal family" despite relinquishing her status in 1972.
"Any attempt to involve a high-level member of the royal family in the political process - by whatever means, would be tantamount to breaching time-honoured royal traditions, customs and national culture," the statement added. "Such action must be deemed transgression and most inappropriate."
On Monday, Thailand's Election Commission ruled Princess Ubolratana out of next month's election. Her name was left out of a list prime minister nominees released by the commission.
On the same day, political activist Srisuwan Janya submitted a petition to the Election Commission to dissolve Thai Raksa Chart Party.
Like Pheu Thai Party - which won the 2011 election but was ousted in a coup in 2014 - Thai Raksa Chart is linked to fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.