Charter Court rules General Prayut’s premiership legal because he is not an ‘other state official’

General Prayut Chan-o-cha’s premiership is legal under Sections 160 (6) and 98 (15) of the Constitution after the nine-member Constitution Court ruled that he is not an “other state official” (a formal technical description in Thailand) and is, therefore, qualified to hold the post of Prime Minister.

The charter court’s ruling was issued on September 18th, but was only published in the Royal Gazette today (October 17th).

The Opposition submitted a petition to the Constitutional Court, through House Speaker Chuan Leekpai, challenging the legality of General Prayut’s post-election premiership on the ground that he was also head of the junta, otherwise known as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), at the time he was appointed Prime Minister after the March 24 general election.

The opposition claimed that the NCPO chief was, therefore, an “other state official” and, thus, prohibited from assuming the premiership.

In its ruling, the charter court said the NCPO chief was not appointed under any statute, nor was there any legal process for his appointment.

The NCPO chief had specific powers and duties for a defined period of time to maintain peace and security in the country.  It does not have a positional status or work specification, similar to those applied to other state officials or state employees as defined by Section 98 (15) of the Constitution, according to the ruling.


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