Thai royal agencies brought under control of new king

Fri Apr 21, 2017 4:54am EDT
 
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By Amy Sawitta Lefevre

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's parliament has agreed in a confidential session to transfer control of royal agencies from the government to new King Maha Vajiralongkorn, members of the military-appointed legislature said on Friday.

The decision came on Thursday in a sitting that was not broadcast in public, they said. It is another step in giving greater say to the king, who has been reshaping the palace and shown himself increasingly assertive on other fronts.

"It involves the transfer of agencies that work for the monarch so that they are grouped together and report to the king," said one parliament member, who declined to be identified.

The agencies had previously been under the prime minister and defense ministry, he said. Other members of the National Legislative Assembly confirmed the decision, but Reuters could not immediately reach its head, Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, for comment.

The military government declined to comment. The palace does not comment as a matter of policy.

The organizations to be transferred are the Royal Aide de Camp Department, The Office of His Majesty's Principal Private Secretary, the Bureau of the Royal Household, the Royal Guard Command and the Royal Court Security Police, the assembly member said.

"The transferring of these agencies to be under the monarch's direct supervision is another sign of an increasingly absolutist monarch, following the pattern of the new constitution, which similarly was amended to legally enshrine more royal assertiveness," said Paul Chambers, a lecturer at Naresuan University in the northern Thai province of Phitsanulok.

"In addition, placing security agencies under the sovereign's direct control allows him to place those he trusts the most in charge of protecting him."   Continued...

 
Thailand's Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn attends an event commemorating the death of King Chulalongkorn, known as King Rama V, as he joins people during the mourning of his father, the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, at the Royal Plaza in Bangkok, Thailand, October 23, 2016. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha