Historic candidacy of princess upends tradition in Thailand

BANGKOK (AP) — A Thai political party has selected a princess as its nominee to serve as the next prime minister, upending tradition that the royal palace plays no public role in politics and upsetting all predictions about what may happen in the March election.

The selection on Friday of 67-year-old Princess Ubolratana by the Thai Raksa Chart party marks a shock realignment of Thai politics, as she is now affiliated with a political machine that has been dismissed by royalists as opposed in spirit to the monarchy.

It also pits her against the preferred candidate of the military, which is considered one of Thailand’s most royalist institutions. Prayuth Chan-ocha, who has been prime minister since leading a 2014 coup, also was selected Friday as a candidate to lead the next government.