What Happens After Thailand's King Dies?

88-year-old King Bhumibol reportedly 'not stable' after latest medical procedure
By Daniel Kay,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 10, 2016 7:41 PM CDT
Thailand's 88-Year-Old King 'Not Stable' After Hospitalization
In this June 9, 2006, file photo released by the Thai Government Public Relations Department, Thailand King Bhumibol Adulyadej acknowledges the crowd in Bangkok during the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of his accession to the throne.   (Thai Government Public Relations Department via AP, File)

Despite years of political instability in Thailand, one thing has remained constant in the country's government for more than 70 years: the monarchy, led by beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The king's visage adorns Thailand's money, posters of him hang everywhere, and a tribute to him plays before every movie shown in theaters. But the king has been in poor health for a long time, and now he has failed to stabilize after a medical procedure on Saturday, NPR reports. The 88-year-old's kidneys are reportedly not functioning properly, the AP reports.

The issue of succession is a tricky one, as the crown prince isn't as well respected as his father. Thailand's royalty is protected by very stringent anti-defamation laws, which make it illegal to speak ill of the king or the royal family. This generally hasn't been an issue, as the current king is well-loved and has been around as long as most people can remember. But the looming specter of a transition has clearly spooked the country, as the Thai stock market dropped nearly 3% on Monday, and the Thai baht also fell to a 2-month low against the US dollar, according to Sky News. (More Thailand stories.)

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