The head of the National Legislative Assembly in Thailand said on Friday (25 November) that the country's parliament will hold a special meeting next week. The extraordinary session could herald an invitation for Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn — the designated heir of the late king — to ascend the throne.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has asked parliament to assemble a special meeting on Tuesday. But, Pornpetch Wichitcholchai — head of the National Legislative Assembly — said "no details have been given on what the special meeting will handle".

"I have to wait for the government to communicate this with the National Legislative Assembly," Wichitcholchai told Reuters. He added that he has asked lawmakers not to go abroad next week.

On the other hand, Kan Yuenyong, executive director of the Siam Intelligence Unit think-tank, told Reuters, "There is a possibility that the ascension will be announced on Tuesday. This is because on December 1 and December 2 there is a ceremony marking 50 days since the king's death and that would clash. So the ascension could happen earlier."

Late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, also revered as the father of the nation, was the longest running monarch of the world, who died on 13 October after years of illness. Since then, the throne of Thailand has remained empty.

A Reuters report in October had said arrangements were being made for Vajiralongkorn's coronation ceremony on 1 December. However, an official ritual will only happen after the late king's cremation in 2017.

According to the constitution of Thailand, parliament must invite the successor to ascend the throne. For now, Prem Tinsulanonda, the 96-year-old former chief of the king's privy council, is serving as regent.

Thailand Parliament
Thai parliament will hold a special meeting next week as the date of the coronation ceremony of Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn nears - File photo REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha/File Photo