Thai king's coronation likely by the end of 2017: deputy PM

BANGKOK (Reuters) - The coronation of Thailand’s new King Maha Vajiralongkorn is likely to take place at the end of the year, a deputy prime minister said on Friday.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn ascended the throne in December, following the death in October of his father, the revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who had reigned for seven decades.

The king’s coronation is widely expected to signal the resumption of politics following a year-long mourning period for King Bhumibol and a general election should follow soon after.

“Around the end of the year there might be a coronation,” Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam told reporters on Friday, without specifying a month.

The king’s coronation will take place after his father’s cremation, set for Oct. 26.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn endorsed Thailand’s new military-backed constitution this month, an essential step toward democracy after the military seized power in a 2014 coup.

But restrictions on political activities will remain in place until after King Bhumibol’s cremation and the new king’s coronation, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has said.

The new constitution is Thailand’s 20th since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932 and critics say it will give the generals a powerful political say for years, if not decades.

A date has not yet been fixed for a general election, which had initially been promised by the junta for 2016.

Reporting by Pracha Hariraksapitak; Writing by Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Clarence Fernandez