Court suspends Thailand’s PM over term limit

Bangkok, Aug 24 (EFE).- Thailand’s Constitutional Court temporarily suspended Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha from his post Wednesday after accepting a petition from the opposition that considers he has exceeded the eight-year limit on his mandate as established by law.

Prayut must leave his post immediately until the court makes a final decision on the lawsuit filed by opposition parties, who said the limit established by the Thai Constitution for the position of prime minister was met.

His political opponents consider Prayut began his mandate in May 2014, when he took power in a coup, while his defenders consider that his arrival at the post began in 2019, when he was elected prime minister after disputed elections.

Another of the arguments that the judges of the Constitutional Court must take into account is whether the eight-year limit imposed by the constitution is retroactive or applies since 2017, when the text was approved during the government of the coup military junta.

By five votes in favor and four against, judges determined the temporary dismissal of the prime minister until they decide on whether Prayut, also the country’s defense minister, has reached the term limit of a maximum of eight years in office.

According to the decision issued Wednesday, the magistrates said there are “reasonable reasons” to review the term limit.

“The court has a majority decision of five to four for the defendant (Prayut) to step down from his duties as prime minister from Aug. 24, 2022, until the court makes a decision,” the court said in a statement.

This week, government sources said that if the Constitutional Court uphold’s Prayut’s suspension, Thai Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan would serve as interim prime minister.

Despite Wednesday’s ruling, Prayut would continue carrying out his duties as Defense Minister normally, since this position does not have term limits. EFE


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