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Prem Tinsulanonda, former Thai premier and adviser to king, dies at 98 - 2 weeks ago, 01:54

Seth Mydans

His death was confirmed by Chai Chidchob, a senior lawmaker in the National Assembly, which observed a minute of silence in Prem’s honor.

Without facing a general election, Prem held the prime minister’s post with the backing of the king from 1980-88, shuffling cabinets five times and weathering two coup attempts.

He left much of the day-to-day administration to bureaucrats, weakening the influence of political parties and the military.

As prime minister and in his subsequent close connection with the palace, Prem often acted as a proxy for King Bhumibol Adulyadej, a constitutional monarch who had no direct political power but enormous moral influence.

“The king trusted Prem absolutely,” wrote political scientist Duncan McCargo, “seeing him as an incorruptible figure who shared his soft and understated approach, but who was a skilled alliance-builder and wielder of patronage.”

Prem never joined a political party, ...
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