Coronation of next Thai king could be delayed by one year

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the coronation of Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn could be delayed by one year, following his request for time to grieve for his late father King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

In a televised address late Saturday, the premier said he and the former prime minister Prem Tinsulanonda had been granted an audience with Vajiralongkorn in which the prince urged Thais not to worry about the vacant throne.

"His Royal Highness told me he did not wish Thais to be confused or concerned about governing matters including the royal succession," Prayut said.

"With regard to timing, His Royal Highness would like all Thais to use this time to reflect on the precious memories ... over the past 70 years of the reign," Prayut said.

"After the royal funeral rites conclude in one year's time, it would be the appropriate time," he said, referring to the coronation of the crown prince.

Former Thai prime minister Prem Tinsulanonda assumed the role of regent in accordance with the constitution on Saturday, two days after Bhumibol's death.

Prem, 96, is the head of the privy council that advises the king. 

The Royal Household Bureau on Saturday announced the opening of the country's Grand Palace for those wishing to pay tribute in front of the late king's image and sign a condolence book.

Thais continue to mourn Bhumibol's death and have reportedly flocked to buy black and white clothing, following the government's request for the country to wear mourning clothes for one year.

Nightlife has been hit hard with fewer patrons and some venues have suspended alcohol sales despite there being no official ban.

Music has also not been played in public following the government's request to suspend celebrations and festive activities.

Last update: Sun, 16/10/2016 - 13:10

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