Naming of new king
Thailand has begun the process of naming Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn as the country’s new king. Its parliament approved the sending of a formal invitation, which he has to accept before ascending to the throne. The deeply revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej died on 13 October, plunging Thailand into mourning. The prince was widely expected to succeed his father, but officials had earlier said he wanted to postpone it by at least a year. The official reason given was that he wanted to give the Thai people time to mourn his father before he became king. Correspondents say Thailand was left in an odd constitutional limbo as the prince, the undisputed heir, should have succeeded his father immediately. In the past doubts have been expressed by senior officials over how the crown prince can perform the role played by his father for 70 years. The monarchy occupies a pivotal place in Thailand’s political order. King Bhumibol Adulyadej had been seen as a unifying figure amid periods of political unrest, including during the most recent military coup in 2014. The leader of Thailand’s parliament, the National Legislative Assembly, is expected to meet with the crown prince in the next few days to formally invite him. Once the crown prince accepts, his succession would then be announced to the public. But it is still not clear when that will happen. Former Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda is currently standing in as regent. His real reasons are not known; public mourning for his father would not have been affected had he been anointed immediately after his father’s death.