Thai junta chief decries coup conjecture as ‘fake news’
Princess disqualified as Thai PM candidate
BANGKOK, Feb 11: Thailand's junta chief on Monday dismissed rumours of an impending coup as "fake news", as speculation ricocheted across a kingdom unsettled by the ill-fated political union between a princess and a party allied to the powerful Shinawatra clan.
Conjecture has coursed through Thailand since Friday when the Thai Raksa Chart party proposed Princess Ubolratana, King Maha Vajiralongkorn's elder sister, as a candidate for premier after the March 24 election.
Hours later, a royal command from the king appeared to put a pin in her unprecedented political aspirations.
It said the monarchy was above politics and described his sister's candidacy as "highly inappropriate".
The slapdown by an unassailable monarch - protected by some of the world's harshest royal defamation laws - who has never addressed the public in such strong terms, set off a chain reaction.
A chastened Thai Raksa Chart, a key pillar in the election strategy of billionaire ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, swiftly agreed to comply with the command.
Meanwhile, Thai Princess Ubolratana was on Monday formally disqualified for running for prime minister, ending her brief and ill-fated political union with a party allied to the powerful Shinawatra clan, just days after a stern royal command rebuking her candidacy was issued by her brother, the king. -AFP