Thai parliament invites prince Vajiralongkorn to take charge as king
Thailand’s parliament on Tuesday invited Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn to become the next king, resolving lingering anxiety over his accession, following his father’s death last month.
The country has been plunged into mourning since widely revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej died on October 13, ending a remarkable seven-decade reign and removing a key pillar of unity in a bitterly divided nation.
Tuesday’s move ends a period of uncertainty sparked by the junta, announcing that after Bhumibol’s death the prince had asked to delay his official proclamation so that he could mourn.
“I will invite the Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn to succeed to the throne and become king of the Thai people,” Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, head of the National Legislative Assembly said. Lawmakers then chanted : “Long live the king”.
The parliamentary endorsement came after Thailand’s Cabinet officially submitted Vajiralongkorn’s name earlier in the day.
Prawit Wongsuwan, deputy prime minister and the junta’s number two, said the prince’s ascension was “proceeding step-by-step” according to the country’s arcane succession rules.
According to protocol, the assembly speaker will now seek a royal audience with the prince to invite him to ascend the throne, the last step before being proclaimed the new monarch.
Prawit said would likely happen “either tomorrow or the day after”.
Vajiralongkorn, 64, has been the named successor to Bhumibol for more than four decades. He spends much of his time outside the kingdom, particularly in southern Germany where he owns property.