(ANSA) – BANGKOK, AUG 24 – The Thai Constitutional Court today suspended Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha from office, accepting a petition from the opposition according to which the mandate of the premier, who came to power with the coup military of 2014, would have reached the eight-year limit imposed by the new Constitution. The Bangkok Post reports.
The suspension of Prayuth, which will have to be succeeded by an interim premier pending the ruling of the Court, came with a verdict of five judges in favor and four against. The decision is surprising, given that the members of the Court were appointed by Prayuth himself after the 2014 coup, and considering that at other times in the past these judges had spoken in favor of the premier.
At the heart of the dispute is a provision in the Constitution drafted by the military in 2017, which prohibits a government leader from remaining in office after eight consecutive years in power. Given that Prayuth was formally appointed premier by then King Bhumibol in August 2014, the opposition argues that the limit has been reached.
Supporters of Prayuth instead propose starting the count from the entry into force of the Constitution in 2017, or even from the elections that in 2019 gave the former general the popular investiture.
In view of the upcoming elections, which must be called before next March, the question of Prayuth’s political survival risks fueling new tensions in the country. The premier, strongly opposed by the majority of the population and in particular by young people in a period of economic stagnation, is the expression of a block of power that brings together the richest families in the country, the army and the monarchy. (HANDLE).