BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Thursday that an heir to King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died earlier in the day, has been designated since 1972 and that the government would inform parliament of the choice.
Prayuth did not identify the heir but it is widely expected to be Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn.
"The government will inform the National Legislative Assembly that His Majesty the King has already designated his heir," Prayuth said in a televised address.
The assembly is due to hold a special session later on Thursday.
Prayuth urged Thais to love one another and protect "the father's land."
Reporting by Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre