Wissanu explains royal succession process

Wissanu explains royal succession process

Thais living in the United States lay flowers in King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the late monarch was born on Dec 5, 1927 while his father, Prince Mahidol, was a student at Harvard Medical School. (Bamka Boyd Facebook)
Thais living in the United States lay flowers in King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the late monarch was born on Dec 5, 1927 while his father, Prince Mahidol, was a student at Harvard Medical School. (Bamka Boyd Facebook)

Privy councillors will choose a new president among themselves now that their chief, Gen Prem Tinsulanonda, has become the regent, according to Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam.

The move is in line with the provision of Section 25 of the 2007 constitution, he added.

Although the 2007 charter was scrapped by the 2014 coup, the 2014 interim charter uses its chapter on the King as a reference.

"When the regent is relieved of duty, he will be reinstated as president of the Privy Council automatically without the need for a royal appointment," Mr Wissanu explained.

By position, Gen Prem became the regent without the need for nomination during the transition of reigns as stipulated in Section 24.

Mr Wissanu, the legal authority of the cabinet and the junta, also confirmed as false the rumours that the regent could nominate the new king as he sees fit.

The case right now, he said, is that the late HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej already appointed his heir on Dec 28, 1972 so there is no question as to who is going to be the new king. The steps to be taken are just a formality to fulfil the late king's wish.

"The process starts with the cabinet formally notifying the parliament speaker, or president of the National Legislative Assembly in this case [that the king had died and had earlier appointed the Heir to the Throne]," he explained. "The NLA then convenes to acknowledge it and its president shall seek an audience with the Heir to invite him to be king. After that, it will be announced to the public.

"By then, Thailand will have a new king. The continuity of the royal line is uninterrupted because the start of the new reign would be counted from Oct 13 [the day HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej died]."

In accordance with the procedure, the NLA convened the night of the King's passing, but the prime minister could not inform it about the Heir because the Crown Prince had told him he would rather take some time to mourn with the nation before accepting the invitation. As a result, the NLA simply acknowledged the passing of the King and held a moment of silence for nine minutes before the meeting was adjourned.

The constitution, Palace Law and traditions were taken into consideration in crafting the process, Mr Wissanu said.

Responding to a question about who would sign the new constitution, Mr Wissanu said the Heir could not sign it since he is next in line to the king with no authority except for royal ceremonies, such as the King's funeral rites.

He added that the Crown Prince was in charge of the protocols and was taking them very seriously.

At this point, Mr Wissanu, with tears welling up, said: "HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn told the prime minister he would like everything to be the same as it was when HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej was still alive, at least for now.

"He said: 'Don't let it be felt that the kingdom is empty. Let's not turn everything into the past so fast. Let's cherish it as the present.' "


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