King doesn't want lavish coronation
Shows frugal side; PM says UK trip a success
His Majesty the King has commanded his coronation ceremony be held economically, according to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
The premier also said Her Majesty Queen Sirikit is in good health but that it is not convenient for her to attend public events now due to her advanced age.
"I've been told she remains strong and can still travel," said Gen Prayut.
The premier was speaking to people from the Thai community living in London on Thursday evening as he is currently on a week of official visits to the United Kingdom and France. His trip wraps up on Tuesday.
Gen Prayut said the King's coronation is expected to be held before the general election in February.
"When the right time comes, His Majesty will consider signing [off on the date of his coronation]. He will take into consideration the general situation in the country," he said.
"If it is peaceful and orderly, he would be pleased [to see the coronation held]," added Gen Prayut.
"He commanded that it be held in a frugal not wasteful manner but asked that it align with traditional custom," the prime minister said.
The premier went on to say the King has shown faith in the government's ability to accomplish the task.
His Majesty has also asked the government to check on all of the project's initiated by his late father, King Rama IX, and report back on which ones have yet to be accomplished and must be pursued, Gen Prayut said.
The King wants Thailand to be a disciplined country where people are instilled with a sense of voluntary sacrifice, the prime minister added.
Regarding a royally initiated canal-dredging programme, the King suggested this may only have a short-term impact unless it is can be carried out continuously, Gen Prayut said.
The prime minister also touched on the timeline leading to the February poll.
According to Gen Prayut, it could take up to 90 days for the King to royally endorse some organic bills on the election of MPs and the selection of senators and political parties, which have already been submitted to the monarch.
As such, his endorsement may not be forthcoming until September, he noted.
Regarding the organic law on the election of MPs, the lawmakers earlier voted for the law to become effective 90 days after its announcement in the Royal Gazette. An election, based on the charter, must be held within 150 days of the law coming into effect.
ฺBased on this, the prime minister said the poll would fall in May at the latest but that February would be the most suitable month.
He said local elections could be held three months after the general poll.
The premier said the 90-day hiatus before the law takes effect is meant to give politicians enough time to prepare for the poll.
He said he had already eased some political restrictions, such as those banning party meetings and member recruitment.
However, he remained coy about whether he would lift the ban on political gatherings of five people or more. He said if the prohibition is rescinded, people would come out to voice their discontent and "things would go back to the same situation [of turmoil as before]".
Gen Prayut said his visit to the UK was successful and that it would prove a boon for the country.
He met British Prime Minister Theresa May and several key business executives, which he said would benefit foreign investment in Thailand.