King appoints new Supreme Patriarch in surprise announcement

Exercising his royal power under a recently amended law, His Majesty the King Tuesday named a new leader of Thai Buddhist authorities, ending years of vacancy on the ecclesiastic throne.

Phra Maha Muneewong, the 89-year-old abbot of Wat Rajabopit, was named the 20th Supreme Patriarch by King Vajiralongkorn, junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters after his weekly cabinet meeting. Muneewong replaced the previous patriarch who died in 2013 at 100, and the issue of his succession has been hotly debated ever since.

Gen. Prayuth said Muneewong will be instated by the King himself Sunday at Wat Phra Kaew, aka the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.


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