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Thai PM assures smooth succession as crown prince requests coronation after King's funeral

Former army chief and prime minister Prem Tinsulanonda is standing in as regent. Photograph: (AFP)

WION Bangkok Thailand Oct 16, 2016, 12.17 PM (IST)

Thailand crown prince Maha Vajiralongkorn has requested to delay his ascension to the throne to grieve his father's death, the world's longets reigning monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The date for the royal succession had been postponed for an unspecified period.  

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha sought to dispel any concerns about complications in the succession, saying the government was working as normal and the cabinet's administration work can continue seamlessly. Uncertainty about who takes over the throne could alarm financial markets, but the military government has been quick to quash any such speculation.  

"He asked the people not to be confused or worry about the country's administration or even about the succession," Prayuth said in a televised address.

The government has not set a date for the royal cremation but a deputy prime minister said the prince had asked that it be held after a year of mourning, and the coronation would take place after the cremation.

"He said at this time everyone is sad, he is still sad, so every side should wait until we pass this sad time ... When the religious ceremony and funeral have passed for a while, then it will be an appropriate time to proceed," Prayuth said.

The formal procedure for him to become king, which involves the president of the legislature inviting him to ascend the throne, can happen at any time before his coronation.

But prince Vajiralongkorn does not enjoy the same adoration his father, who died on Thursday after seven decades on the throne. The prince has spent much of his life outside Thailand, often in Germany. 

Meanwhile, the head of the royal advisory council, a 96-year-old former army chief and prime minister, Prem Tinsulanonda, is standing in as regent.

(WION with inputs from Reuters)

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