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The Latest: Thai king vetoes sister’s election candidacy

February 8, 2019
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FILE- In this May 12, 2017, file photo, Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn addresses the audience at the royal ceremony in Bangkok, Thailand. Late Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, King Vajiralongkorn issued a decree stating that no member of the royal family should be involved in politics, quashing a bid by his older sister to run for prime minister in next month's elections. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)

BANGKOK (AP) — The Latest on Thai princess’s decision to run for prime minister (all times local):

11 p.m.

Thailand’s king has issued an order stating that no member of the royal family should be involved in politics, quashing a bid by his older sister to run for prime minister in next month’s elections.

An order issued by King Maha Vajiralongkorn read out on national television late Friday night said his sister’s candidacy was inappropriate and violated the constitution’s intent.

Princess Ubolratana Mahidol’s nomination earlier Friday by an opposition party had upended politics in Thailand and threatened the palace’s decades-long tradition of eschewing political involvement.

Many Thais had assumed that the princess would not have sought the nomination without her brother’s blessing and were surprised that he would have supported her association with a party that is considered unsympathetic to the monarchy.

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6 p.m.

The older sister of the king of Thailand said Friday she will run for prime minister in elections next month, upending the palace’s decades-long tradition of eschewing politics and setting up a surprise contest with the leading military-backed candidate.

Princess Ubolratana Mahidol’s nomination by the opposition Thai Raksa Chart Party marks a shock realignment of Thai politics. The party is linked to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who hardcore royalists have long dismissed as opposed in spirit to the monarchy.

The nomination pits the princess against current Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the preferred candidate of the military, considered one of Thailand’s most royalist institutions.

Prayuth, who led the 2014 military coup that ousted Thailand’s last elected government, on Friday also accepted his nomination as candidate for prime minister by the Palang Pracharat Party, widely seen as a proxy for the military.

Prayuth had been considered the front-runner for the March 24 polls because changes in the constitution and election rules implemented by his government make it difficult for political parties without military backing to capture the prime minister’s post.

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This story has been corrected to fix official terminology to “order” instead of “decree.”

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