Thailand’s Constitutional Court has ruled that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-Ocha be removed from office-what is the reason?
Thailand’s Constitutional Court on Wednesday, August 24, suspended Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha from official duties after hearing a petition to review the eight-year statutory term.
The court said so in a written statement sent to the media. It said a final ruling on the petition filed by the main opposition party had been issued.
The main opposition party in Thailand and many Thais believe that Prayut, who came to power in a military coup in 2014, should resign immediately because the country’s constitution limits the prime minister’s term to eight years. The eight years are believed to have ended this coming Wednesday.
But General Prayuth’s supporters argue that the countdown to his term began after 2014. They argue that Thailand’s current constitution, which contains a provision limiting the prime minister’s term, went into effect on April 6, 2017, and this date should be used as the starting date. Another interpretation in favor of his continued tenure is that the countdown began on June 9, 2019, when Prayut took office under the new constitution after the 2019 general election.
In any case, he must call a new election by next year.
A petition from opposition lawmakers arguing that Prayut has reached his eight-year term was sent to the Constitutional Court on Monday. And the day before, the main faction of the protest movement calling itself “Ratsadon” (“The People”) issued a statement reiterating its call for Prayut’s ouster.
“For more than eight years Thai society has experienced the darkest and most bitter times. A period of rule by a tyrant who has taken power away from the people. A tyrant who inherits power through a mechanism devoid of democratic legitimacy,” the statement said.
A spokesman for the faction said that Thailand’s constitutional court “must listen and make the right decision. We, the people, hope that deep down, you and General Prayuth’s associates will come to your senses and realize that General Prayuth’s time as prime minister of Thailand has come to an end in accordance with the 2017 Thai constitution.”
Political analysts believe that opposition parties are indeed trying to increase pressure on Prayuth, creating a sense that his administration has mismanaged some things, including the work stoppage due to the coronavirus pandemic and, increasingly, the cost-of-living crisis that has hit the pockets of many Thais. In 2020, thousands took to the streets in numerous protests demanding the resignation of Prayut and his cabinet, while calling for constitutional amendments and reform of the monarchy. The student movement was prompted in part by the court decision to dissolve the popular opposition party “Forward for the Future.
At one point, the protest movement drew crowds of 20,000 to 30,000 people in Bangkok. Several clashes with the authorities turned violent. The legal prosecution of activists, arrested in many cases under the law against insulting the monarchy because of their criticism of the royal institution, further enraged Prayuth’s critics.
Catch up on more stories here
Follow us on Facebook here