HONG KONG: The princess whose shock candidacy in Thailand’s general election sent jitters through the country attended a glitzy wedding for ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra’s daughter in Hong Kong on Friday, just two days before polling day.
Princess Ubolratana’s short-lived political venture was stopped by her brother King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who said in a royal command that it was highly inappropriate.
Thais go to the polls on March 24 in the first election in eight years, and the princess’s unexpected candidacy — to front a now-dissolved Shinawatra-linked party — was the campaign’s biggest twist so far.
At the wedding she was welcomed on the red carpet by Thaksin, his eldest daughter and her husband.
Wearing a short pink gown, the 67-year-old princess smiled and chatted with the Shinawatras as they walked into harbourside Rosewood Hotel for the wedding of Thaksin’s youngest daughter Paetongtarn.
Thaksin was dressed in a black suit with a red bow tie and a flower on his lapel as he greeted Ubolratana with a bow, while his eldest daughter Pintongta made a Thai style “wai” gesture.
Thailand’s former PM arrived at the venue two hours before the reception, which was set to begin at 6pm. On his way in he said to the gathered media in English: “I’m happy.” Asked who will win the election, Thaksin replied: “I don’t know.” Thaksin and his younger sister Yingluck Shinawatra both now live overseas after fleeing what they say are politically motivated charges following coups that toppled their governments.
Published in Dawn, March 23rd, 2019