11 July 2024

Thailand’s opposition parties have decided to submit a petition, through House Speaker Chuan Leekpai, to the Constitutional Court this Wednesday to seek a ruling on Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s 8-year-term in office, according to Pheu Thai MP and opposition deputy chief whip Somkid Chueakong.

He said that opposition parties will also ask the Constitutional Court to order the prime minister to cease performing his duties, adding that the move has a slim chance of resulting in the House being dissolved by the prime minister, but he did not completely rule out such a scenario.

Somkid cited the case of the bill to amend the organic law on election, to revert the use of 500 as the basis for the calculation of party-list seats which, he said, should have been completed on August 10th. Chuan, in his capacity as president of the parliament, has, however, scheduled another joint sitting of the two Houses this Monday to vote on the controversial bill.

He admitted that he is dumbfounded by Chuan’s move.

The joint sitting on August 10th was adjourned due to a lack of a quorum when the vote was to be taken on the bill.

The Pheu Thai party is scheduled to meet on Tuesday and will allow other MPs to sign the petition to be submitted to the Constitutional Court on Wednesday, said Somkid.

Opposition parties contend that the prime minister’s 8-year-term in office will come to an end by August 24th, since he assumed the premiership on August 24th, 2014, as head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), after the he led the coup in May 2014 to topple the caretaker government of then Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Prayuth’s supporters, however, maintain that his term either started in June 2019, when he received Royal endorsement and was sworn into office, or in 2017, when the junta-drafted constitution, which was approved in a plebiscite, came into force.