Thailand is a step closer towards naming its new king. The nation's parliament has given the go-signal to formally invite Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn to accept the royal position prior to assuming the throne.
The step is part of a process to succeed King Bhumibol Adulyadej who died last October 13. The entire country has been in mourning shortly thereafter.
According to Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, Thailand's cabinet has acknowledged that the prince is the new head of monarchy.
Although it is not surprising that the prince will be next in line, the royal son has intended to postpone his assumption by at least a year in order for the Thai people to grieve for his father. The void has confused many considering that an heir must succeed the throne immediately.
The uncertainty of the prince's role has surfaced judging from King Bhumibol's extensive role as a royal figure for the last 70 years. The monarchy has helped stabilized Thailand when the nation went through a number of political crises including the 2014 military coup.
It is anticipated that the National Legislative Assembly will meet the crown prince very soon to offer a formal invitation. Once the proposal is accepted, the succession will be declared in public. As of the moment, the temporal royal head is former Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda.
Royal ascension in Thailand has been rare. Seventy years ago, the late King Bhumibol succeeded his brother King Ananda, who was found dead with a gunshot wound, through the parliament's emergency session.
The primogeniture principle is used as basis for royal succession in Thailand. The eldest son of a king gets to assume the throne although the king himself can endorse his personal choice. In this case, the crown prince remains the favorite over his more famous sister Princess Sirindhorn due to King Bhumibol's repeated endorsements of his son in the past.
Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn is the second among the four children of the king and his wife Queen Sirikit. He has been a controversial figure in the limelight judging from the fact that he was married thrice. In 2015, he has led a couple of cycling events in Bangkok to honor his parents.