Bangkok: The 96-year-old head of Thailand's Royal advisory body has been made caretaker of the monarchy as the country mourns the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Prem Tinsulanonda's appointment is in line with the constitution, which states that the Privy Council president is acting regent when the throne is vacant.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha informed the National Legislative Assembly on Thursday that Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn would like to take some time to grieve with the nation before accepting the invitation to become the new King.
"Pending the proclamation of the name of the Heir or the Successor to the Throne under Article 23, the President of the Privy Council shall be Regent pro tempore," the Constitution says.
The duty of the Regent pro tempore ends when a meeting of the National Legislative Assembly invites the heir to ascend the throne.
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam also confirmed last night that the Privy Council president has been named the regent.
Prem, was appointed council president in 1988, succeeding?former prime minister Sanya Dharmasakti. Prem was prime minister for eight years from 1980.
The world's longest-reigning monarch, King Bhumibol, died on Thursday in a Bangkok hospital, at the age of 88.
The King's body was taken in a convoy yesterday to the Grand Palace, with thousands of weeping mourners lining on both sides of the street to pay their respects to their beloved King.