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Thai Princess Ubolratana joins race for PM candidate

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The eldest sister of Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn has joined the race to be the country’s next prime minister.

Princess Ubolratana Mahidol, 67, will stand for a party allied to ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, according to registration papers.

Traditionally the Thai royal family stays out of politics, so this is an unprecedented move.

Thailand’s election is scheduled to take place on 24 March.

The princess, who relinquished her royal title in the 1970s, has registered for the Thai Raksa Chart party.

“The party [board] agrees that the name of Princess Ubolratana, an educated and skilled person, is the most suitable choice [for premier],” said Preechapol Pongpanich, leader of the Thai Raksa Chart party, according to an AFP report.

The development raises questions about the future of other political candidates, amid speculation that no-one will run against a member of the royal family.

The country’s current prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, also announced on Friday that he would be running for prime minister in the current election.

The army chief, who seized power in a military coup in 2014, will be running as a candidate for the pro-military Palang Pracharat party.