10/20/2016, 16.07
THAILAND
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Military junta reassures Thais that they would soon have a new king

by Weena Kowitwanij

Parliament will shortly invoke Article 23 of the Constitution, which regulates the royal succession. Prince Vajiralongkorn will be crowned after the cremation of his father, Bhumibol Adulyadej. Prime Minister Chan-o-cha tells Thais they “should not be afraid or worried”.

Bangkok (AsiaNews) – Thailand’s military junta has reassured the Thai people that they would soon have a new king. The first step by Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn towards the throne "will be taken very soon," said Wissanu Krea-ngam, a jurist and Thailand’s deputy prime minister since August 2014.

The political leader spoke to clarify the timing of succession to the throne of Thailand after the death of King Bhumibol. The Thai Parliament is expected to start shortly the formal procedures of royal succession.

Following the special session of Parliament on 13 October, the speaker announced that the Legislative Assembly will invoke section 23 of the 2007 Constitution, which regulates the succession to the throne, even if the timing is not defined.

The people of Thailand "should not be afraid or worried,” said the head of the military junta. “After at least 15 days of mourning, it will be the right time to implement the article."

The second step, according to the deputy prime minister, "will be the cremation of King Bhumibol’s body, which will be carried out more or less one year from 13 October (the day of his death). The coronation will be held sometime after the cremation ceremony."

The delay in the second step that leads to the coronation, he explained, "it is due to the expressed will of Prince Vajiralongkorn".

State agencies have reported that the heir to the throne "wants everything to be as stable as if His Majesty King Bhumibol were still alive, until everyone is reconciled with the fact that there is a change in monarch. At that point we will talk” about the succession.

For now, retired General and former Prime Minister (1980-1988) Prem Tinsulanonda was appointed regent pro tempore until the coronation.

King Bhumibol named his son as his heir on 28 December 1972. A few hours after the king’s death, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha confirmed that Maha Vajiralonkorn would be the next king.

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