Bangkok: Thailand’s Constitutional Court ruled on Friday that Prime Minister Prayuth Chan Ocha can remain in office, but cannot violate a constitutional provision that limits his term to eight years. Lawmakers from opposition parties have filed a petition in the court, saying Prayuth violated the eight-year term for the prime minister’s term, which was first included in Thailand’s 2017 constitution.
Prayuth had taken power as military commander after a coup in 2014. Prayuth officially became the Prime Minister in August 2014 in the military government and in the year 2019 he was again nominated for the post of Prime Minister. If the year 2014 is taken as the starting date, then he would have completed the limit of valid tenure only last month. The prime minister and his supporters have been arguing that the valid period of term should start from April 2017 when the current constitution came into force.
On this basis, if he returns to office again in the next general election, then his term will be till the year 2025. The nine-member court said Prayuth’s tenure should be reckoned from the date of coming into force of the new constitution. The 9-member court said that it is of the majority opinion that the Constitution came into existence during Prayuth’s tenure as PM. For this reason, the tenure he has spent before the coming into force of the Constitution will not come under the purview of the new law. This decision has been praised by the supporters of democracy.