11/29/2016, 11.56
THAILAND
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Bangkok begins process of succession to the throne: Awaiting Prince Vajiralongkorn


The government will ask the President of Parliament to invite the heir to the throne to become the next king. The prince will meet with the Assembly in coming days. The coronation must take place after the cremation of the body of King Bhumibol, scheduled for next year.

 

Bangkok (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Thai government has started the formal process of succession to the throne after the death of King Bhumibol Adulaydej. The government will ask the President of Parliament to invite the Prince Vajiralongkorn to become the next king. The heir to the throne must accept the invitation before being proclaimed king. Prawit Wongsuwan, defense minister, told the press: "Now we have begun the parliamentary process. We expect an audience [with Prince] within the next day or two".

King Bhumibol died on 13 October. He was the longest-serving ruler in the world, on the throne of Thailand for 70 years. A few hours after the death, the Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha declared a year of national mourning, saying that this period was in response to a request put forward by the Prince.

Vajiralongkorn cannot be crowned before the cremation of the body of his father, which will take place next autumn. The government said that the construction of the pyre will begin in 2017 and that 8 thousand people will be involved in the cremation ceremony.

The Crown Prince – who is not loved by the people as was his father - is currently in Germany (where he spent much of his adult life) and is expected to return to Bangkok for a meeting with the speaker of parliament soon. Throughout the transition period, the duties are officiated Prem Tinsulanonda, 96 year-old army general, former Prime Minister (1980-1988) and former president of the Privy Council of King Bhumibol.

According to AsiaNews sources, the long national mourning is actually of benefit to the military junta in power to postpone democratic elections.

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