Thailand has begun the formal process for naming a new King following the death of the long-reigning monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej in October. King Bhumibol was deeply revered by his people and was seen as a unifying factor in Thailand’s volatile political climate.
Before his death, Bhumibol has endorsed his eldest son, Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn as his sucessor. Thai succession law runs on the principle of primogeniture, where the throne passes to the eldest son of the king, but it also makes allowance for the king to name his own choice.
Bhumibol had endorsed his son decades ago and stood by his choice of his eldest son despite his eccentricities and not having the same sort of popular appeal as his father. In what came as a shock to many Thais, Prince Maha announced he would need a year’s break before ascending the throne in order to mourn his father properly.
In spite of this, the Thai parliament approved the sending of a formal invitation, which he has to accept before ascending the throne. It remains uncertain if he will still wait it out or accept the formal invitation.