11 July 2024

Thailand’s opposition parties submitted a petition, through House Speaker Chuan Leekpai today (Wednesday), to seek the Constitutional Court’s ruling on Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s 8-year term in office.

Signed by 171 opposition MPs, the petition was submitted by opposition and Pheu Thai leader Chonlanan Srikaew.

In the letter, the opposition referred to when Prayut was royally appointed on August 24th, 2014, Section 264 of the Constitution B.E. 2560 (2017AD) regarding the qualifications of cabinet ministers and previous rulings by the charter court regarding the end of the term in office of ministers.

In case the court rules that the prime minister’s term ends on August 24th this year, the opposition said that the entire cabinet must go, but the cabinet including the prime minister could remain as caretaker, with some exceptions or, if the Court orders the prime minister to cease his role, his deputy could become caretaker.

For a prime minister to cease his role for any reason other than a House dissolution, a parliamentary election must be held to select a new prime minister.

Chonlanan said that Prime Minister can choose to dissolve the House before August 23rd, to avoid the court’s ruling, but he hopes that he will not do so.

Government Spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said today that the prime minister had told him that he will not dissolve the House, but will spend the rest of his term working for the people.

Opposition parties, several academics and anti-government activist groups have insisted that the prime minister’s 8-year term in office ends on August 24th, because he was sworn into the office on August 24th, 2014, following the coup to oust the caretaker government of then Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in May 2014, which was staged by the military junta led by Prayut. The subsequent administration was known as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

This morning, two activist groups, led by activists Jatuporn Prompan, and Nititorn Lamlua, who held merit-making and religious rites, to seek divine blessing before the launch of a protest at the October 14 Memorial near the Democracy Monument, starting on August 21st, to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut.

Jatuporn said that he expects many people to join their rally until August 24th. He insisted that, after August 23rd, Prayut will no longer hold the status of prime minister.