Leader of Thai Raksa Chart party Preechapol Pongpanich, center, gestures as he talks to media at the Constitutional Court in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, March 7, 2019.
Leader of Thai Raksa Chart party Preechapol Pongpanich, center, gestures as he talks to media at the Constitutional Court in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, March 7, 2019.

A top court in Thailand has ordered the termination of a major opposition party because of its nomination of the king's sister as a candidate for prime minister just over two weeks before the March 24 election.

The decision by the Constitutional Court reduced the Thai Raksa Chart Party's chances of defeating parties that are allied with the military junta that has been in power since it ousted a democratically elected government in a 2014 coup.

The ruling by the court, which also banned Thai Raksa Chart executive board members from political activity for 10 years, also raises concerns about the fairness of the upcoming elections.

Thai Raksa Chart party leader Preechapol Pongpanich, holds up application of candidate for Prime Minister, Thailand's Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi, at the election commission office in Bangkok, Thailand, Feb. 8, 2019.
Thai Political Party Facing Dissolution
Thailand's election commission is calling for the dissolution of the political party that nominated a member of the royal family as its candidate for prime minister.  The commission filed a request with the Constitutional Court Wednesday to disband the Thai Raksa Chart party because it violated the country's system of a constitutional monarchy alongside a democratically elected government.  The Thai Raksa Chart party last Friday nominated Princess Ubolratana Mahidol to run for prime minister in the…

The party nominated Princess Ubolratana as its candidate on February 8, prompting her brother, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, to declare it "inappropriate" and unconstitutional. The party argued it could legally nominate her because her formal royal titles were rescinded in 1972 when she married a foreigner.

The Constitutional Court ranks among the most conservative institutions in the South Asian country, regularly ruling against former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is aligned with the Thai Raksa Chart Party, and his allies.

FILE - Thai Princess Ubolratana Mahidol waves outside the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand, Oct. 27, 2017.
Acrimony, Fear Reign in Thailand Following Princess’s PM Ploy
The dramatic foray of a Thai princess into the country’s election, which collapsed almost as dramatically as it began over the weekend, has returned Thai politics to a familiar state of turmoil and fear.   In a country that has endured more than 30 attempted coups since 1932, 12 of them successful, rumors are now circulating wildly of another.   “More has happened politically in the past five days than has happened in 15 years, if not 20 years, in Thailand.

The allied parties have been victors in every national election since 2001 but have twice been overthrown in coups.

Thai Raksa Chart is one of several parties loyal to former Prime Minister Thaksin in an election that generally pits his supporters against establishment parties.

Party leader Preechapol Pongpanich told reporters outside the Bangkok courthouse after the ruling, "we all had good intentions."

Thai Raksa Chart supporters were seen crying outside the courthouse, some of whom said they would vote for other opposition parties.