Thai Raksa Chart say Princess was ‘nominated with her consent’

PHOTO: Prasert Thepsri – The Nation

The embattled Thai Raksa Chart Party is defending its nomination of Princess Ubolratana as a prime ministerial candidate saying it was done at the wish and consent of the Princess.

The party is fighting for its existence as the Charter Court mulls a dissolution of the party after a recommendation from the Election Commission.

Thai Raksa Chart Party’s lawyer, Surachai Chinchai, has explained that the nomination was done with innocent intent and the party had no special goals behind it.

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“We innocently believed that we could do it. Also, it was done at the wish of the one who was nominated,” he said.

He also insists that the party had not falsely used the Princess’s name, and that Ubolratana had agreed to be named the party’s sole prime ministerial candidate.

The nomination of Ubolratana, the elder sister of His Majesty the King, was submitted to the Election Commission on the morning on Friday, February 8, the final day the Commission would accept nominations for the March 24 election.

But the Princess’ nomination was short-lived as the King issued a decree that members of the Royal Family could not be involved in politics.

Speaking to reporters after submitting their defence documents yesterday, Surachai said: “When the King issued the order on February 8 at 11pm, the party immediately announced the following morning that it was adhering to the order willingly.”

“This showed our loyalty to the King and the monarchy, and also showed that we had no intention of pursuing the nomination.”

Insisting that the nomination had been done innocently and with the Princess’s consent, Surachai also argued that the ban for “opposition to the monarchy” targeted moves to install communism in the country or commit treason.

He said the party did not commit any of these crimes, as Ubolratana had given her consent to the nomination.

“The petition does not just call for the dissolution of the party, but also calls for the banning of party executives from politics for life. This is equivalent to capital punishment in politics,” he said.

Separately, a party source claimed the Princess would not testify in court. As to whether the Constitutional Court will deliver its ruling before the March 24 election, Surachai said he believes voters should first have a chance to vote.

“This will benefit the justice system,” he said.

The EC has been widely criticised for its haste in taking the case to court, with some saying this was a form of discrimination and a move to remove Thai Raksa Chart from the fray. Thai Raksa Chart is a pro-Thaksin Shinawatra party, believed to be fielded in the election to help Pheu Thai Party gain party-list MP seats. The creation of separate parties was a result of the new election system that gives big parties only a few seats in the House of Representatives.

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