Crown prince urges calm over succession
THAILAND’S crown prince has urged people not to “worry” about his surprise decision to delay being proclaimed king following the death his beloved father, the country’s junta leader said.
The move, which led to the appointment of a regent, has spurred rumours and uncertainty in a nation whose recent history is studded with coups, political intrigues and street protests.
Against that backdrop, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died on on October 13 aged 88, represented stability and moral rectitude to many Thais and his death is being mourned deeply across the country.
The 64-year-old Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn is the king’s named successor but has asked to delay formally assuming the throne while he mourns with the people.
Instead 96-year-old former general Prem Tinsulanonda, who headed King Bhumibol’s Privy Council, was announced as regent.
On October 14 junta leader Prayut Chan-o-cha said the crown prince summoned him and Mr Prem earlier in the evening to dampen unease over the hiatus in assuming the throne.
“He asked the people not to be confused or worry about the country’s administration or the succession,” Mr Prayut said.
“He said at this time everyone is sad so every side should wait ... before making any sudden change.”
The “appropriate time to proceed” will be after King Bhumibol’s funeral and cremation, Mr Prayut said, quoting the crown prince.
While a coronation was not expected until after an extended funeral period for the late king, Mr Prayut did not specify whether prince would formally take the throne before then.
The regent Mr Prem is remarkably spry given his advanced years and remains a master political operator.
He has been at the centre of Thailand’s treacherous politics for decades, first as general and then as a prime minister and a staunch King