'I'm sorry'- Thai princess apologises after ill-fated run for PM

Thai princess apologizes after being disqualified from PM run

In an Instagram post late Tuesday the 67-year-old princess apologised for her role in the drama, which has sent jitters across the politically febrile country just weeks before elections. Lawyers for the party said they will present their case before the constitution court, asking "for their mercy and justice".

The country's Election Commission said it recommended the Thai Raksa Chart Party be dissolved because its prime minister candidate was "in conflict with the system of rule of democracy with king as head of state".

The EC's discussions on the proper punishment for TRC were based on three pieces of evidence: the Feb 8 royal announcement, the party's letter notifying the person it proposed as the prime ministerial candidate and the party's letter allowing Parliament to consider approving its candidate as PM. The king's word is rarely ignored in Thailand.

Preechapol Pongpanich, leader of Thai Raksa Chart, leaves his party's headquarters in Bangkok on February 13.

"I am sorry my genuine intention to work for the country and Thai people has caused such problems that shouldn't have happened in this era", she said in an Instagram post on Tuesday. Thaksin-linked parties have won every general election since 2001.

In a move possibly emboldened by the turmoil and uncertainty enveloping pro-Thaksin parties, the junta also announced a 15 day suspension of Voice TV, one of the more progressive Thai TV stations which is owned by Thaksin's children and often gives a platform to those critical of the military. Thaksin and his sister Yingluck - who was overthrown in the 2014 coup - live overseas to avoid convictions they say are politically motivated. The constitutional court is expected to approve the election commission's request.

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The March 24 election is set to be a showdown between supporters of the exiled former prime minister and royalist incumbent Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, 64, who has led the ruling military junta for the past five years.

It was followed by the hashtag, in English, #howcomeitsthewayitis. They appear to have assumed that since she lost her formal royal titles in 1972 when she married a foreigner - an American whom she has since divorced - that the strictures against royal involvement in politics would not apply to her.

While she said she was exercising her rights as a commoner to stand for premier, the palace statement said she is "still a member of the House of Chakri", referring to the name of the dynasty.

Analysts say the blocking of the princess's candidacy could benefit Prayut, who has portrayed himself as a defender of the monarchy.

The action against Thai Raksa Chart could strengthen both the pro-Thaksin and anti-Thaksin sides, said Titipol Phakdeewanich, a political science professor at Ubon Ratchathani University. The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission said two news programs on the station spread information that caused public confusion and divisiveness.

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