BANGKOK – Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha announced on Thursday that there would be an official one-year mourning period in the country following the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world’s longest-serving monarch.
The king died peacefully at 3:52 p.m. local time (0852 GMT) Thursday at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok, where he had been hospitalized since October 2014, according to a statement by the Royal Household Bureau.
Bhumibol had received hemodialysis treatment on Oct. 8 after his health worsened during the weekend.
During a televised address, Prayut said that the immediate priorities for the government were the funeral arrangements and succession of the king, who was revered by the Thai public as a semi-divine figure.
The prime minister said the government would inform the National Legislative Assembly, due to convene tonight, that the king had named a successor on Dec. 28, 1972 – the date that the heir apparent to the throne, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, was crowned.
The prime minister added that there would be a ban on entertainment in all sectors during the mourning period, and that flags on government buildings would be lowered to half-mast for the next 30 days.
Government officials will be required to wear black, while normal citizens are free to mourn as appropriate, Prayut said, urging the public “to follow in the footsteps of the king and his desire to see the country move towards prosperity.”
The prime minister and leader of the military junta, which took power in a coup in 2014, ended his address with the words: “Bhumibol Adulyadej is dead, long live the new king.”