Thailand’s military government said the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and a delay in his son taking the throne will not derail plans for a return to elections, as Thais continue to mourn the fallen monarch.
Junta leader Prayuth Chan-Ocha said there should be no concern over the news that Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn wants more time to mourn before becoming king. He said the crown prince doesn’t want people to be confused by government matters or succession and the process is all governed by the constitution, palace rules and tradition.
“We should all pass this period first,” Prayuth said in a televised speech late Saturday night. “When ceremonies for making merit and the funeral pass for a while, then it should be time to continue. This is unlikely to create any impact on other plans or processes.”
Bhumibol, who was 88, died Oct. 13 after years of illness, marking the end of a 70-year reign that saw Thailand transition from an agrarian backwater to Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy. Vajiralongkorn, 64, doesn’t have the same public adulation as Bhumibol, who was a symbol of unity in a country rocked by 10 coups during his time on the throne, the last in May 2014.
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