Thai prime minister: King was unifying, 'highly precious'

Statements Thursday from Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej:


"Thai citizens in the kingdom and foreign countries all over the world, the day that no Thais wanted to think about or wish to even hear about has arrived. The bureau of the royal household issued a formal statement that His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej has passed away today at the Siriraj Hospital.

"It is considered a great loss and the biggest tragedy in the lives of all Thais all over the country since the death of His Majesty Rama VIII on June 9, Buddhist year 2489 (1946).

"Thai citizens please follow the news and understand that in the past years His Majesty the King had fallen ill and was staying at the Siriraj Hospital. When his condition was less severe he could have resumed his royal duties with royal diligence. Throughout the time that has passed the board of doctors had treated him closely. His condition improved continuously to the joy of Thai people and the country but at last his condition deteriorated without relief ..."

"Respected brothers and sisters, in 70 years' time under the rule of His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej after the World War had ended the country was recovering from the dangers of war, the people were filled with hope when Thailand had a king. The new king ruled, was a leader, converted people's despair into determination and stability. He stood up and fought many different obstacles.

"Under his rule was a time that had development in the country in all spheres. He was a king, was loved, respected. He was a unifying figure for all Thais all over the nation, counting up to 70 years that he ruled over the lands justly with the purpose of happiness for all Siamese.

"Right now 70 years of rule under His Majesty the King, the highly precious leader of Thais has ended. His royal grace that he had toward his Thai subjects cannot be found anywhere. The sadness of his Thai subjects cannot be found anywhere.

The government is inviting all of us to unite and pray according to the religion that you follow. Like we have done before, pay respects to His Majesty, and invite the holy spirits of the religions that you respect to protect His Majesty in death. Pray for his spirit to reside in heaven and may he protect the king of Thailand, the Thai citizens who were his royal subjects, to have happiness and peace in Thailand that the Thai people have always had under the long rule of 70 years.

"Even though we are in a time of sadness with tears on all our faces, Thailand, which is the love of us and the departed His Majesty, must continue. Don't allow his death to squander his wish to see his kingdom prosper and his people be happy, kind and friendly.

"The show of love, camaraderie and grief is following in His Majesty's footsteps that he wished for his people to preserve the freedom, sovereignty, happiness and development of the country in accordance with his royal tutelage that he had bestowed.

"The two important tasks that we must proceed with right now, is first, the procedure in accordance with the Kingdom of Thailand constitution and royal law ... so that the governance under democracy with king as head of state can continue. The government will notify the National Legislative Assembly that His Majesty has designated a successor in accordance to the Royal Law on Dec. 28 Buddhist year 2515 (1972). From there the National Legislative Assembly will proceed accordingly.

"The other task is preparing for the funeral. In the government's and the people's part please give respect and love that the Thais have toward His Majesty. The royal urn is proceeding with these two tasks, the government will notify members of the public in intervals.

"In the time to come, which is a time that the government and those involved will have to proceed with different things to be in accordance with the law and royal tradition, the government asks that the people listen to only official news from government sectors. Don't believe rumors that have no sources. Together the government invites the beloved people of Thailand to dress in mourning for the time of one year. Official places should fly their flags at half-staff for a time period of 30 days. And every other sector should consider halting joyful events for a period of 30 days. Everyone may attend rituals or organize religious events, or memorials.

"Furthermore, people should use this opportunity to support one another because all of us may be different but we have one heart because we have a shared father of the land.

"And please help maintain the peace and stability of the country. Do not let those who wish to take advantage and come in to create conflict until it creates chaos. I ask the Thai people come together to send off His Majesty by preserving the lands of the father with love and camaraderie forever.

"Thai brothers and sisters, His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej Rama IX has died. Long live the new king."