Thailand's Constitutional Court on Thursday agreed to hear a petition by the Election Commission that seeks to dissolve the political party which nominated a princess as its prime ministerial candidate for the Mar. 24 elections.
On Friday the Thai Raksa Chart Party named Princess Ubolratana Mahidol, King Maha Vajiralongkorn's elder sister, as its candidate for the top post, marking the first time a close relative of a Thai monarch was to take part in the polls.
But her candidacy was invalidated by the Election Commission after the king called her involvement in politics "highly inappropriate.”
The EC panel on Wednesday filed a petition with the Constitutional Court seeking to dissolve the opposition Thai Raksa Chart Party.
The court decided in a unanimous decision Thursday to accept the petition and gave the party seven days to submit a written defense, a statement said.
The court will convene to debate the matter again on Feb. 27, the statement said.
The dissolution of the party would mean banning members of its executive (including Ubolratana) from politics for 10 years and will also prevent them from contesting the upcoming elections even if they join another party.
After the court's decision to consider the petition, the party announced the suspension of its campaign to prepare its defense.
The Mar. 24 general elections will be the first polls to be held in the country since the military seized power in a bloodless coup in 2014.
Thai Raksa Chart Party is linked to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whose Puea Thai Party has won every election that has been held since 2001.
Thaksin’s sister Yingluck was prime minister when the government was overthrown nearly five years ago.
Educated in the United States, Ubolratana relinquished her royal titles in 1972 around the time of her marriage to an American. But following their divorce in 1998, she returned to Thailand with their children.
She was not the first member of the royal family to contest elections in Thailand, but she is the first direct relation of a monarch to run.