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Thai king's sister to contest March 24 election as prime ministerial candidate

Key Points
  • The sister of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn has been declared as a leading prime ministerial candidate for a party loyal to ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in March 24 elections, registration papers showed on Friday.
  • Separately, the head of Thailand's military junta, Prayuth Chan-ocha, said on Friday he will contest the elections as a candidate for prime minister.
Princess Ubolratana is seen attending Thailand's Late King Bhumibol Adulyadej's ashes and relics to be taken to the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall in the Grand Palace, after the Royal Cremation. Thailand's Late King Bhumibol Adulyadej was the world's longest serving monarch who died on October 13th, 2016 at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok.
Guillaume Payen, SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images

The sister of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn has been declared as a leading prime ministerial candidate for a party loyal to ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in March 24 elections, registration papers showed on Friday.

Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Varnavadi, 67, broke the long-standing tradition of Thai royalty staying out of politics by entering the election in an unprecedented move.

Thailand has been a constitutional monarchy since 1932 but the royal family has wielded great influence and commanded the devotion of millions.

The king's eldest sister has registered as a candidate for the Thai Raksa Chart party, an off-shoot of the Thaksin-backed Pheu Thai Party. The election is seen as a battle between Thaksin's populists and allies and the royalist-military establishment.

Separately, the head of Thailand's military junta, Prayuth Chan-ocha, said on Friday he will contest the March elections as a candidate for prime minister.

Prayuth, the army chief who seized power from a democratic government in a 2014 coup and made himself prime minister, said in a statement he would run as a candidate for the pro-military Palang Pracharat.