Royal agencies of Thailand brought under control of King Vajiralongkorn

Apr 22, 2017 11:04 IST

The Parliament of Thailand on 20 April 2017 agreed to transfer control of royal agencies from the government to the new King Maha Vajiralongkorn. Members of the military-appointed legislature said that the decision was taken in a confidential session. The session was not broadcasted in public.

As per information, the organisations that will be transferred include the Royal Aide de Camp Department, the Bureau of the Royal Household, the Office of His Majesty's Principal Private Secretary, the Royal Guard Command and the Royal Court Security Police.

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This step is being seen as another step to provide greater say to the King, who has been reshaping the palace and has also shown himself increasingly assertive on other fronts. The fronts include transfer of agencies that work for the monarch so that they are grouped together and report to the king. Earlier, these agencies were working under the prime minister and defence ministry.

Paul Chambers, a lecturer at Naresuan University in the northern Thai province of Phitsanulok said, "The transferring of these agencies to be under the monarch's direct supervision is another sign of an increasingly absolutist monarch, following the pattern of the new constitution, which similarly was amended to legally enshrine more royal assertiveness”.

"In addition, placing security agencies under the sovereign's direct control allows him to place those he trusts the most in charge of protecting him."

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Background

King Vajiralongkorn inherited the throne in 2016 following the death of his revered father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej. His father reign spanned seven decades and was punctuated by political turbulence.

Thailand is a constitutional monarchy, but King Bhumibol wielded great influence. His son has shown himself to be increasingly assertive with the generals who wrested power from an elected civilian government in a 2014 coup.

Earlier in January 2017, King Vajiralongkorn ordered sections of the country to draft or rewrite a constitution in a way which was never seen by a monarch in decades. The newly drafted constitution was voted overwhelmingly in the Parliament.

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Reports suggest that King Vajiralongkorn will be crowned by the end of 2017 following cremation of his father. His father will be created in October 2017.

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