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Portrait critical for Thai succession

Thursday, April 21, 2016 - 01:04

Thailand prepares the groundwork for its first royal succession in nearly 70 years. Natasha Howitt reports.

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Look around anywhere in Thailand and chances are you will see a portrait of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. But these days, his son, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, is also increasingly present. (SOUNDBITE) (Thai) 60-YEAR OLD UNIDENTIFIED THAI WOMAN, SAYING: "Yes, I've seen them. I do notice the increase, like here at the Bangkok City Hall, there are portraits of the Crown Prince and the King together." The king is in failing health, and Thailand is preparing the groundwork for its first royal succession in nearly 70 years. Most Thais have known no other king. The 63-year-old prince is portrayed as a down-to-earth, family man in glossy magazines and on State TV. (SOUNDBITE) (Thai) DIRECTOR OF SIAM INTELLIGENCE UNIT, KAN YUENYONG, SAYING: "We can interpret this as a public relations strategy although the Royal Household has not actually announced it as one, so it is an observation we have to make by ourselves." Thailand, which has a military government, is no stranger to political instability. And there are concerns the royal transition could upset the balance.

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Portrait critical for Thai succession

Thursday, April 21, 2016 - 01:04