By Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Pracha Hariraksapitak
BANGKOK Oct 17 A general election will take
place in Thailand next year as planned by the ruling junta,
local media reported on Monday, while Thais grieved over the
death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej who died last week after seven
decades on the throne.
The death of King Bhumibol, the world's longest-reigning
monarch, had raised questions over whether a return to civilian
rule could be delayed and elections planned for 2017 might be
pushed back by the military-led government.
Thailand has begun a year of mourning for King Bhumibol,
whose death at the age of 88 was announced by the palace on
The cabinet has asked that "festivities" be avoided for the
next 30 days and people have been asked to wear black during
The Bangkok Post newspaper reported on Monday that the
monarch's death had not affected plans for a general election
"The government has reaffirmed its commitment to following
the roadmap for general elections scheduled for late next year,"
the paper said.
Weerachon Sukondhapatipak, a spokesman for the military
government declined to comment on the matter.
"This is not the time to discuss politics," he told Reuters.
King Bhumibol earned the devotion of Thais for his efforts
to help the rural poor, including agricultural development
projects. He was also seen as a stabilising figure in a country
often wracked by political turmoil.
The military-led government has assured Thais following the
king's death that the economy and government will work as
"Everything will proceed according to the roadmap," Deputy
Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said in an interview broadcast
on state television on Friday.
The head of Thailand's royal advisory council will stand in
as regent while the country grieves over King Bhumibol's death
and awaits his son, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, to
formally succeed him.
The government has heightened censorship of foreign media
since the king passed away. Coverage on Thailand by the BBC was
repeatedly blocked over the weekend.
Thailand's foreign ministry in a note on the weekend
criticised foreign media coverage of the king's death and the
mourning period saying reports by some media were of "a
manipulative and provocative nature".
(Additional reporting by Andrew R.C. Marshall; Writing by Amy
Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by John Chalmers and Simon