Royal succession in Thailand will be seamless when it is eventually triggered, palace observers say, as the acutely taboo topic resurfaced on Wednesday following growing signs the health of the revered 88-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej is deteriorating.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha abruptly cancelled a scheduled visit to the rural Chonburi province as the Thai stock market and the baht took a beating for the third straight day after an official statement over the weekend described King Bhumibol's health as "unstable".
The palace statement first released late Sunday said the world's longest reigning living monarch was in a "generally unstable" condition after treatment to purify his blood and drain excess cerebrospinal fluid.
The statement said the king was put on a ventilator after his blood pressure dropped following the procedures. His doctors were monitoring him closely as "the overall symptoms of his sickness are still not stable," it said.
In a fresh online statement on Wednesday afternoon, the government provided updates on how the public could "sign and write well-wishing messages" but did not give further updates on the monarch's health.
Thai monarchy observers said the choice of words stood out from previous official updates on the ailing king's health. The widely venerated monarch enthroned since 1946 has been out of the public eye in recent years due to a range of health issues including renal failure. The palace has released more frequent updates of his health this year.
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Commentary from within Thailand about the king's health and succession plans is scarce because of the country's tough royal defamation laws, which has seen increased usage under the current military government.