Thailand’s venerated King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world’s longest-reigning monarch, has died at the age of 88, according to an announcement by the Royal Palace.
“His Majesty has passed away at Siriraj Hospital peacefully,” a statement said on Thursday, 13th October.
The highly revered monarch had spent most of the past decade in hospital for a variety of ailments, including kidney and lung problems. The palace recently said the octogenarian had been in a “not stable” condition for several days after receiving dialysis treatment.
Bhumibol had been Thailand’s king since 1946 and had earned the deepest respect from the vast majority of Thais. A constitutional monarch with no formal political role, Bhumibol was widely regarded as Thailand’s unifying figure in the nation’s fractious political scene.
Al Jazeera’s Scott Heidler, reporting from the capital Bangkok, said the government had announced a mourning period of one year.
Prime Minister Prayuth said on Thursday the king’s successor would be named later, as the crown prince, who is widely presumed to be the Kings successor, asked for time to mourn with the Thai people. “Let us wait for the right time,” he told reporters.
Pravit Rojanaphruk, a Bangkok-based political analyst, told Al Jazeera, “The issues of the succession of the throne can always be rather tricky and it’s not something people will be able to discuss critically or publicly here in Thailand without the risk of heavy imprisonment.”
Criticism, speculation, even mundane discussion about the monarchy can bring serious repercussions under Thailand’s “lese majeste” law – with jail terms of up to 15 years for those convicted.
The king’s death comes as Thailand remains under strict military rule, following a coup in 2014.
- Pray for Thailand as it mourns the death of the King and also looks ahead to his successor. Pray for peace across Thailand at this time, especially as the King was integral in maintaining political stability in this nation.
- Pray that, as people mourn the King, they will come to know the comfort of the King of Kings, who loves them and longs for the Thai people to know His saving grace and life.
- Pray for the Thai Church at this time, to be a source of comfort and hope to the people in their communities.
- Pray that many in this strongly Buddhist nation will come to recognise the respond to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
John 3 vs 16: “ ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.“
Source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news, http://www.bbc.com/news