11 July 2024

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s post-election premiership hangs in the balance after the Constitutional Court accepted for consideration a petition from the Opposition challenging his prime ministerial status.

According to a press release from the Constitutional Court today, House Speaker Chuan Leekpai has submitted the Opposition’s petition, claiming that General Prayut is unqualified to be prime minister in accordance with Section 170 (paragraph 3) and Section 82 of the Constitution.

The Constitutional Court accepted the petition and, at the same time, notified the Prime Minister of the need to submit a written defence within 15 days.

The court, however, turned down the Opposition’s demand for the Prime Minister to be suspended from performing his duty in accordance with Section 82 (paragraph two) of the Constitution.

The Opposition maintains that General Prayut, as head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), was a state official with a salary paid by the state and, hence, was barred by the Constitution from becoming prime minister.

Earlier this week, Pheu Thai party core member Chalerm Yubamrung challenged General Prayut’s premiership by citing the Supreme Court’s ruling 3578/2560 which ruled that the NCPO was a “sovereign authority” and, hence was empowered to summon political activist Sombat Boonngarm-anong. Therefore, he said, General Prayut, as head of the NCPO, was a state official.