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    Oct 17, 2016

    Thai Prince urges calm over succession


    THAILAND'S Crown Prince has urged people not to "worry" about his surprise decision to delay being proclaimed king following the death of his beloved father, the country's junta leader said.

    The move, which led to the appointment of a regent, has spurred rumours and uncertainty in a nation whose recent history is studded with coups, political intrigues and street protests.

    Against that backdrop, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died on Thursday aged 88, represented stability and moral rectitude to many Thais and his death is being mourned deeply across the country.

    The 64-year-old Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn is the King's named successor but has asked to delay formally assuming the throne while he mourns with the Thai people.

    Instead, 96-year-old former general Prem Tinsulanonda, who headed King Bhumibol's Privy Council, was announced as regent.

    On Saturday, junta leader Prayut Chan-o-cha said the Crown Prince summoned him and regent Prem earlier to dampen unease over the hiatus in assuming the throne.

    "He asked the people not to be confused or worry about the country's administration or the succession," General Prayut said in a televised statement.

    "He said at this time everyone is sad - including himself - so every side should wait... before making any sudden change," he added, in an apparent reference to the succession.

    The "appropriate time to proceed" will be after King Bhumibol's funeral and cremation, General Prayut said, quoting the Crown Prince.

    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.

    Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd also told reporters a Cabinet meeting would go ahead as normal tomorrow.