‘Political earthquake’ as Thai princess runs for PM against military junta

Leonie Kijewski| The Guardian

The sister of Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn has entered the race to become prime minister in next month’s elections in an unprecedented move that redraws the country’s political landscape.

Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi said she was exercising her rights as a citizen in accepting an offer to represent the Thai Raksa Chart party. She is the first member of the royal family to run for the office of PM, and will face the coup leader and head of Thailand’s military junta, Prayut Chan-o-cha, who said on Friday he was running to “maintain peace and order”.

The Thai monarchy, a revered institution shielded from criticism by strict lese-majesty laws, is traditionally seen as above the political fray, although royals have intervened in moments of political crisis.

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