The recent nomination of Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya as PM candidate for Thailand’s upcoming election, and subsequent denunciation by King Rama X is a political riddle that can be interpreted as an advantageous positioning.
On one hand, it is apparent that the Princess Ubolratana supports representative democracy and the adherent party she was nominated to represent as candidate for premiership, on the other, the throne has demonstrated the absolute decisioning over political etiquettes of the kingdom.
In a way, the Royal family has been able to hold a position that occupies two advantageous positions that otherwise would seem to contradict one and the other; being influential in and being above politics.
It came as a shock to many hardline royalists that a member of the country’s highest echelon would be involved in such a contemptuous field as politics, while at the same time many opposition to the current junta revelled in the political slap to face of the junta. However, hours after the internet went buzzing with trending hashtags in response to the Princess’ bold political move and speculations of the crown’s support, it became official that the Princess doesn’t have her brother’s, the king’s blessing to run for prime minister. And odds were that the Princess would most likely win the bid.
The Princess as prime minister would also have created a precedent that would change the image of the Royal institution, as well. Positive interpretations would be in the line of a democratic progressive transition towards state affairs and the crown. But, this would mean a trade off of the sacred status for more legal influence in the kingdom’s politics. Everyone knows politics is anything but sacred.
Of course, if the Princess were to become intertwined in politics it would possibly put herself and her association as a Royal family member at risk of pesky press questions. Most likely not by domestic journalists, not any with a sane mind, anyways. However, if the Princess did become premiere, the infamous quagmire in Thai politics concerning coups of elected governments would have likely been paved over with concrete, at least during her premiership.
Thus, the current position of Royalty involvement in Thai politics sustains the “above politics” reverence, but at the same time has opened a political option, or sample of how a Royal member might become involved. As for, the Princess’ interpretation of her civilian status, her official residential address seems to suggest otherwise.