BANGKOK (Reuters) – More than 60 percent of Thais want the government to dissolve parliament and call an early election, according to a recent opinion poll, as the country’s Constitutional Court considers the future of suspended Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.
Prayuth, 68, was suspended from duty by the court last month over a petition filed by the main opposition Pheu Thai party that argued Prayuth’s time spent as head of a military junta after a 2014 coup should count towards his constitutionally stipulated eight-year term limit .
The suspension left Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan as the country’s acting leader while Prayuth remains in the cabinet as defense minister.
The survey of 1,312 people conducted between Sept. 5-7 by the National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) found 63.80% strongly agreed Prawit should dissolve parliament and call an early election, while 13.95% strongly disagreed.
A government Reuters did not respond to a Reuters request for comment on the findings of the survey released on Sunday.
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According to the constitution, Thailand’s next election is due by May of 2023 but the poll could happen if the earlier parliament is dissolved.
Prayuth ruled as head of a military junta after staging a coup in 2014 when he was the army chief.
He became a civilian prime minister in 2019 following an election held under a 2017 military-drafted constitution in which an eight-year limit for a prime minister was set.
The court has not yet set a date for its final ruling but has asked Prayuth and those involved in the dispute to submit evidence in the case.
(Reporting by Panu Wongcha-um; Editing by Ed Davies)
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