THAI­LAND

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

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.

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