Thai PM Gets Reprieve As Court Rules He Hasn't Exceeded 8-Year Limit
Thailand's Constitutional Court on Friday, Sept. 30, ruled Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha had not exceeded the maximum eight years allowed in the post, paving the way for his likely return from a five-week suspension.
Photo Insert: Then an army general, Prayuth, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), led a military coup that ousted an elected government in May 2014, and in August that year, he took the post of prime minister in the military government installed after the coup.
The court was announcing its decision in a case filed by the opposition, which sought clarity on whether Prayuth's time as leader of a military government formed after a coup eight years ago should count in his overall tally, Panu Wongcha-um and Panarat Thepgumpanat reported for Reuters.
Earlier, Grant Peck of AP reported that a ruling in Prayuth’s favor is considered likely but risks invigorating a protest movement long opposed to his government because he came to power undemocratically.
They have called for a demonstration ahead of the court ruling and promised to bring more pressure if he stays. Prayuth took power in a 2014 coup.
Last month, the court suspended Prayuth from carrying out the prime minister’s duties pending its ruling. The senior deputy prime minister in his Cabinet, Prawit Wongsuwan, became acting prime minister, while Prayuth retained his concurrent position of defense minister.
The issue before the nine-member court — raised in a petition from opposition lawmakers — is how to count Prayuth’s time in office.
Then an army general, Prayuth, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), led a military coup that ousted an elected government in May 2014, and in August that year, he took the post of prime minister in the military government installed after the coup.
His critics thus contend the eight-year term limit expired Aug. 24. Prayuth’s supporters say the constitution containing the term limit provision came into effect on April 6, 2017, and his time in office should be counted from that date.