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King of Thailand approves new government

Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn, or Rama X, has approved a new civilian cabinet of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the Royal Gazette announced in Thailand on Wednesday.

The March election was hotly contested as it was the first election in the country since the 2014 coup that placed General Prayuth Chan-ocha as Prime Minister.

Chan-ocha was selected as Prime Minister after the election by military-appointed legislators and senators which irked his opponents who said the selection system was unfair. He was also named Minister of Defence yesterday.

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The election had the Thai Royal Family involved in an unusual way as the King’s sister, Princess Ubolratana announced a bid to become Prime Minister of Thailand. The King denounced his sister’s decision. The Thai Raksa Chart Party was later dissolved, and the Princess was disqualified from running by the election commission.

The King’s coronation took place in May of this year over two years after ascending the throne upon the death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (or Rama IX). The coronation was aired live on all Thai channels in both English and Thai.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn succeeded his father King Bhumibol Adulyadej upon his death on 13 October 2016. He asked for time to mourn his father before accepting the throne, which he did on 1 December 2016.

The Thai people have been asked to wear yellow to honour the King from April until the end of this month after the monarch celebrates his birthday on 28 July.

King Rama X is highly revered in Thailand, and the country has strict lèse majesté laws. A person can be imprisoned for defaming, insulting or threatening members of the Thai Royal Family.

Photo: Brittani Barger

The King’s image is all over Bangkok with decorations of white and yellow still displayed from the coronation and in celebration of his upcoming birthday. There are photos of the King every few metres throughout the city, as well.

There’s even a large tribute to him inside the Suvarnabhumi Airport where people can send His Majesty well wishes.

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