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Thailand begins naming prince as new king

Thailand begins naming prince as new kingThailand parliament has invited Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn to become the new king following the death of revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, president of the National Legislative Assembly, said in a televised session the prince would be invited to ascend the throne after the cabinet earlier on Tuesday formally asked parliament to begin the process of installing a new monarch.

Members of the assembly stood up during a short parliamentary session and shouted: "Long live the king!"

The prince will have to accept parliament's invitation in order for him to be proclaimed king, according to established procedure.

Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said: "We expect an audience [with the prince] within the next one to two days."

Two senior military sources said Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn would fly into Bangkok on Wednesday from Germany, where he has a home.

The death of the much loved King Bhumibol on October 13 plunged the Southeast Asian nation into mourning. Most Thais have known no other monarch.

King Bhumibol, who was the longest-serving head of state in the world when he died at the age of 88, played a stabilising role during decades of often violent conflict in Thailand.

The crown prince's invitation to become monarch will likely allay some public concerns the succession might not go according to plan.

The prince, who will be known as King Rama X, or the 10th king of the 234-year-old Chakri Dynasty, can only be formally crowned after his father's royal cremation, which will take place next year.

Thailand will begin building the late king's funeral pyre next year and 8,000 people will be involved in the cremation ceremony, the government said last week.

The prince has not spoken publicly since his father's death and news about his plans has come through the government.
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