Thai­land in­vites crown prince to be­come king

> Par­lia­ment’s move ends pe­riod of un­cer­tainty

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

BANGKOK: Thai­land’s par­lia­ment yes­ter­day in­vited Crown Prince Maha Va­ji­ra­longkorn to be­come the next king, re­solv­ing lin­ger­ing anx­i­ety over his ac­ces­sion fol­low­ing his fa­ther’s death last month.

The coun­try has been plunged into mourn­ing since widely revered King Bhu­mi­bol Adulyadej died on Oct 13, end­ing a re­mark­able seven-decade reign and re­mov­ing a key pil­lar of unity in a bit­terly di­vided na­tion.

Yes­ter­day’s move ends a pe­riod of un­cer­tainty sparked by the junta mak­ing the sur­prise an­nounce­ment af­ter Bhu­mi­bol’s death that the prince had asked to de­lay his of­fi­cial procla­ma­tion so he could mourn.

“I will in­vite the Crown Prince Maha Va­ji­ra­longkorn to suc­ceed to the throne and be­come king of the Thai peo­ple,” Porn­petch Wi­chitcholchai, head of the rub­ber stamp Na­tional Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly, said.

Law­mak­ers then stood up and replied: “Long live the king”.

The par­lia­men­tary en­dorse­ment came af­ter the cabi­net of­fi­cially sub­mit­ted Va­ji­ra­longkorn’s name ear­lier in the day.

Prawit Wong­suwan, deputy prime min­is­ter and the junta’s num­ber two, said the prince’s as­cen­sion was “pro­ceed­ing step-by-step” ac­cord­ing to the coun­try’s ar­cane suc­ces­sion rules.

Ac­cord­ing to pro­to­col, the assem­bly speaker will now seek a royal au­di­ence with the prince to in­vite him to as­cend the throne, the last step be­fore be­ing pro­claimed the new monarch.

Prawit said that would likely hap­pen “ei­ther to­mor­row or the day af­ter”.

Va­ji­ra­longkorn, 64, has been the named suc­ces­sor to Bhu­mi­bol for over four decades.

He spends much of his time out­side the king­dom, par­tic­u­larly in south­ern Ger­many where he owns prop­erty.

A mil­i­tary source said the prince is cur­rently in Ger­many.

He will soon in­herit one of the world’s rich­est monar­chies, an in­sti­tu­tion pro­tected by a tough royal defama­tion law. – AFP

A pic­ture of Va­ji­ra­longkorn is dis­played for sale at a royal mem­o­ra­bilia shop in Bangkok yes­ter­day.

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