BANGKOK – Thailand’s Parliament initiated on Tuesday the process to proclaim the country’s Crown Prince as the new king, and put an end to the interregnum since October when King Bhumibol Adulyadej passed away.
The legislature, handpicked by the country’s ruling military junta, received the proposal from the government, which held a meeting before the parliament session and agreed to invite Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn to ascend the throne.
Vajiralongkorn, who will be the tenth monarch of the Chakri dynasty and will hold the title of King Rama X, is expected to accept the invitation this week itself.
After the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan told reporters the prince will meet the president of Parliament within a day or two, following which proclamation proceedings can be started.
The House processed the invitation in what was its first session since Oct. 13, when, hours after King Bhumibol’s death, it had adjourned without designating a new monarch.
Prayuth Chan-ocha, prime minister and military junta head, had then said the proclamation was being delayed upon Prince Vajiralongkorn’s request for time to mourn his father.
The head of the late king’s private council, former dictator and Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda, had assumed charge as the interim head of State.
Days later, authorities announced the formal coronation ceremony will not be held until after Bhumibol’s cremation, expected to take place within the next one year, although the proclamation can take place before.
Bhumibol was the only king that most Thais have known and was a symbol of national unity, while, Vajiralongkorn, appointed Crown Prince in 1972, has lived much of his life abroad, disconnected from the responsibilities of the throne and does not enjoy the popularity of his father.