The New King will be the one to endorse the new constitution before it comes into force in accordance with the government’s planned “road map towards democracy,” Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said Tuesday.
“It is resolved now that once the mourning ceremonies have passed a period of seven or 15 days, it should be appropriate to follow the (2007 charter’s) Article 23,” Prayut said after a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
Article 23 specifies: “[I]n the case where the Throne becomes vacant and the King has already appointed His Heir to the Throne under the Palace Law on Succession, BE 2467, the Council of Ministers shall notify the President of the National Assembly. The President of the National Assembly shall then convoke the National Assembly for the acknowledgement thereof and shall invite such Heir to ascend the Throne and proclaim such their King.”
Prayut said: “Please do not cast doubts on the succession to the throne. It will follow the charter, palace law and customs. Our road map will also certainly be unaffected.”
The premier’s remarks, together with the road map’s requirement that the charter draft be promulgated within a few months, suggested the possible period when the new king will be crowned.
Constitution drafter chief Meechai Ruchuphan submitted the final draft of the charter to the Cabinet on Oct. 11, while the prime minister had 30 days to consider before seeking Royal endorsement.
That endorsement that will require up to another 90 days, meaning that the charter draft should be promulgated, at the latest, by February next year, said Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, a legal expert.
Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, the only legitimate heir to the throne, has not yet assumed the throne because he has preferred to join the public mourning for King Bhumibol Adulyadej before proceeding with the succession.
The Crown Prince’s decision temporarily delayed a process designated by Article 23, referred to in this case by the current charter draft, in which the president of the National Assembly would invite the heir to ascend to the throne and proclaim him king.
In the interim period before the heir is proclaimed under Article 23, the president of the Privy Council, Gen. Prem Tinsulanonda, became Regent pro tempore and acting head of state in accordance with Article 24. The Regent would act on behalf of the throne “only on the basis of necessity”, Prayut said.
During his news briefing, Prayut emphasized that the government would strictly adhere to the road map without delay |during the mourning period.
The government would also continue to drive the country forward, including adopting the late King’s initiatives, including the sufficiency economy philosophy to help the Kingdom to achieve the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals, Prayut said.
“Please turn your grief into uniting power and use your wisdom to move forward,” he said. “We also have to help create correct understanding together.”