On 8 February 2019, it was announced that the Thai Princess, Ubolratana Mahidol, would no longer run for Prime Minister of Thailand. This came after the Electoral Commission voted on her bid for candidate in the 2019 general election.
The announcement of the Princess’ bid for Prime Minister caused a shock among the public of Thailand. The absolute monarchy in Thailand ended nearly 86 years ago.
The princess has not always been a prominent force in Thai royalty as she left the country to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was there where she met her husband Peter Jensen, whom she later married in 1972. Mahidol’s marriage to Jensen saw her almost excommunicated from Thai royalty. Once her father’s favourite, she became a distant figure in the Thai public eye after she lost her two royal titles. After her divorce, Mahidol returned to her home country in 2001 and has been working on her advocacy issues.
Mahidol’s bid for Prime Minister was unprecedented in Thai politics. The Electoral Commission’s decision was strongly supported by the Princess’ brother King Maha Vajalong Karin, who stated her campaign would be “inappropriate”.
Furthermore, the country has experienced ongoing political turmoil since the start of the 21st century. The current leader of the country, and leading candidate in the upcoming election, Prayuth Chan-ocha, lead a military coupé of the government in 2014. Chan-ocha, who is also head of the military junta, is advocating that he will be the leader to maintain peace and order in Thailand.
Since her bid was denied, the Princess took to social media, thanking all of her supporters yet failing to mention her brother – the King – who was one of the adversaries in her bid for Prime Minister. Mahidol continues to work on her advocacy programs including an anti-drug campaign.
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Image courtesy of Sodacan via Wikicommons