BANGKOK – Twenty-thousand people paid tribute on Saturday in the Thai capital to King Bhumibol, who died on Oct. 13 at the age of 88 after ruling for seven decades, on the first day of the popular monarch’s wake, official sources said.
Authorities have canceled the plan to allow entry to only 10,000 subjects a day to the Royal Palace – where the coffin with the remains of Bhumibol is kept – due to the growing number of people who wanted to participate in the tribute ceremony.
Thai military junta spokesperson Sansern Kaewkamnerd said that the funeral will last a long time to allow all subjects who wish to pay tribute to the sovereign, according to a statement published in the Bangkok Post newspaper.
Authorities have warned, however, that those who wish to attend the funeral must be dressed in black, in accordance with the government’s decision to enact one year of official mourning.
The beginning of Bhumibol’s wake comes without any takeover of the crown, since his son and heir Prince Vajiralongkorn announced he wished to spend a period mourning his deceased father before being proclaimed king.
Diplomatic sources told EFE that Vajiralongkorn traveled this weekend to Germany where one of his sons is studying.
Sources have not yet specified the date of his return.
According to current legislation, the military junta ruling Thailand since the 2014 military coup must present the new Constitution approved in a referendum in August to the head of state for its sanction before Nov. 8.
The current situation of provisionality makes it impossible to know whether the deadline will be met when Prince Vijarlongkorn is proclaimed king or whether the text will be submitted to former general and former prime minister Prem Tinsulanonda, who is the Regent pro tempore.