Thai King, Queen open Parliament two months after election

Bhumjaithai Party leader Anutin Charnvirakul (centre) leads his fellows to attend the opening ceremony ahead of the first assembly of Parliament in Bangkok on May 24, 2019. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BANGKOK (DPA) - Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida presided over the opening ceremony for the new Parliament on Friday (May 24), which came two months after the country's first general election since the 2014 coup.

The king urged members of Parliament to work with prudence and honesty in a brief speech.

"Please be aware that all your actions could affect national security and lead to the happiness or suffering of the people," the 66-year-old king said in an address to the assembly.

Following the ceremony, the rubber-stamp Senate is scheduled to convene for the first time to choose its Speaker and deputies late on Friday.

All the 250 senators were recently hand-picked by the ruling military regime and approved by the king.

Among many close allies of the regime selected were junta leader Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's brother, the army chief and the police chief.

The senators will play a crucial role in enabling Mr Prayut to remain in power, as they will vote for the prime minister together with almost 500 elected lawmakers in Parliament next week.

After five years under repressive military rule and several delays, Thais finally got to vote on March 24.

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