Govt mulls royal succession time frame
PM expects process to start after Oct 27
The government will consider initiating the royal succession process some time after the first 15 days of mourning for His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej have been observed, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha says.
The new constitution will be submitted to be royally endorsed by the new king within the time frame stipulated by the interim charter, Gen Prayut added.
Speaking after Tuesday's cabinet meeting, Gen Prayut reiterated that the matter of royal succession is clearly stated in the interim charter, the 1924 Palace Law on Succession, and royal traditions.
People both at home and abroad should not be worried or concerned about it, the prime minister said.
- Earlier report: No succession for first 15 days
After the royal merit-making rites marking the first seven days and then 15 days of the King's passing have been observed, the government will find an appropriate time to enact Section 23 of the 2007 charter.
Although the 2007 charter was abrogated during the 2014 coup, its sections related to the monarchy have been retained and remain effective under the 2014 interim constitution.
The royal merit-making rite marking the first seven days of the King's passing will be held today while that marking 15 days since His Majesty's passing will be held on on Oct 27.
According to Section 23, when the throne becomes vacant and an heir has already been appointed by the King under the 1924 Palace Law on Succession, the cabinet must notify the parliament president who will convene parliament to acknowledge the heir.
The parliament president would then invite the heir to ascend the throne.
In this case, the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) will act as the parliament as there is no House of Representatives or Senate at the moment.
Gen Prayut said last week that the Crown Prince reiterated that he wanted to join Thais in mourning the passing of his father before he accepted the invitation to become the new king.
The Crown Prince advised that royal funeral rites should continue for at least one year before the cremation ceremony is held. His coronation is expected to take place some time after the royal cremation.
Under the constitution, the Crown Prince can become King before his official coronation.
Until the NLA invites the Crown Prince to ascend the throne, Gen Prem Tinsulanonda has assumed the duty of acting regent under Section 24 of the 2007 charter.
The prime minister also confirmed the roadmap to restore democratic rule, which includes a general election expected late next year, will remain unchanged. "Nothing has changed. The policies of this government, the laws, the constitution, and the elections will stick to the roadmap," he said.
On Oct 11, the Constitution Drafting Committee forwarded the revised version of the new constitution to the government. Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam previously said the government will have until Nov 9 to submit the new charter for royal endorsement.
Mr Wissanu confirmed the next king will sign the new constitution, though it is still not known when the new charter will receive royal endorsement.
The interim charter states that when the new charter reaches the palace, the new king will have 90 days to consider whether to endorse the new charter, he said.
Mr Wissanu also said the preamble of the new constitution, which mentions the name of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, needs to be amended now that the King has passed away.
In light of this development, the cabinet on Monday forwarded the draft of the new constitution charter to the Constitutional Court to consider who will initiate the change of name and how, Mr Wissanu said.
However, he said the court should not take too long to consider the matter.
Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd, who is also acting director-general of the Public Information Department, said the department will work with the Foreign Ministry and television channels to translate information regarding the royal funeral rites as well as the royal succession into foreign languages to ensure correct reporting by foreign media.