Update: The Bangkok Post story was reposted just prior to midnight (Bangkok time) on 14 October. The main difference in the story from that set out below seems to be that the appointment is confirmed by junta legal deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam. At 4 am (Bangkok time), Khaosod’s note about the withdrawal of its story remained in place.
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In our last post we mentioned a remarkable story in Khaosod that discussed the “appointment” of General Prem Tinsulanonda, Privy Council boss, as regent. That story was critical of interim parliament chairman Pornpetch Wichitcholchai for failing to invite the crown prince to be king.
Soon after we posted, the Bangkok Post had a similar article, without the criticism of the Pornpetch or discussion of the the constitutional requirements surrounding the position of regent.Both articles are now gone. The Post says nothing about it going missing. Khaosod states:
From the Editors of Khaosod English.
Khaosod English has removed an October 14 article about a procedure at the royal succession following King Bhumibol’s death per instruction from Khaosod’s editorial management, who feared that content in the article might lead to possible legal action.
We regret the necessity.
The decision was made solely by the editorial management of Khaosod newspaper, which owns Khaosod English. We have not received any order from authorities to remove the article.
As a news agency based in Thailand, Khaosod English is obliged to comply with Thai law. However, we strive to serve the public interest by presenting objective, accurate news reports.
(Khaosod also reports censorship of another article profiling royals. It states in a note: Portions of these profiles have been redacted due to the present sensitive climate and draconian lese majeste law.)
We thought readers might like to see the deleted stories. The first is from the Bangkok Post:
Prem becomes Regent pro tempore
Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda has been named Regent pro tempore following the passing of His Majesty the King on Thursday.
Gen Prem’s appointment is in line with the constitution, which states that the council president is acting regent when the throne is vacant, according to Section 24.
“Pending the proclamation of the name of the Heir or the Successor to the Throne under Article 23, the President of the Privy Council shall be Regent pro tempore,” the constitution says.
The duty of the Regent pro tempore ends when a meeting of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) invites the heir to ascend the throne, according to Section 23.
NLA vice-president Peerasak Projit said on Friday the NLA meeting on Thursday evening was held under Section 2 of the interim constitution which the cabinet should have submitted the heir name for acknowledgment. Then the NLA chairman would invite the heir to step on the throne.
However, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha informed the NLA on Thursday that the heir, HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, would like to take some time to grieve with the nation before accepting the invitation to become the new king.
Therefore, a regent pro tempore is needed during this transition period. Mr Peerasak said the Privy Council president would automatically take that position.
The second is from Khaosod, as a series of screen captures: