BANGKOK – In his first New Year address since ascending the throne, Thailand’s King Vajiralongkorn asked the Thai people to unite to face the future together and continue to be kind, compassionate, grateful and patriotic.
In a televised message broadcast Saturday night, the monarch, sporting a black blazer and glasses, invited the Thai people to evaluate situations based on these qualities and without prejudice in the new year.
The king said the country had gone through a huge loss in 2016 with the death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who passed away on Oct. 13, aged 88, after reigning for seven decades.
Vajiralongkorn thanked the Thai people for the massive outpouring of grief shown after the king’s death and promised that, with their help, he would fulfill his father’s wish to bring progress to Thailand through understanding.
The 64-year-old also upheld the royal tradition of sending New Year greeting cards featuring the emblems of the Chakri dynasty, the late King and Queen Sirikit.
Vajiralongkorn will be crowned after the 12-month official mourning period ends in late 2017.
According to the Thai military junta’s schedule, the new Constitution, approved in a referendum in August, will enter into force and general elections will be held during the same period, although official media reports have not ruled out a postponement of the elections until 2018.