Thailand’s Constitutional Court keeps Prayut in power

The court rules that the PM’s eight-year mandate is not yet completed by deciding that it began in 2017, not 2014. Pro-democracy protesters opposed to the decision take to the streets.


Bangkok (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Thailand’s Constitutional Court today ruled that Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has not exceeded the eight-year limit imposed by the country’s constitution.

The retired general can thus remain in office until 2025 since his mandate began on 6 April 2017, when the current constitutional charter came entered into force.

The period from 2014 to 2017 when he was head of government under the previous temporary constitution does not count.

The Court’s decision follows a petition by the opposition in the National Assembly presented by Speaker Chuan Leekpai on 17 August, asking for clarification on the matter.

According to the opposition, the term of office of the 68-year-old Prayut Chan-o-cha, a former Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army, should have ended on 24 August of this year.

On that day, the Constitutional Court suspended him, with his duties taken over by the deputy prime minister.

General Prayut came to power in a military coup in May 2014, ending a period of political turmoil that began with the proposal of then Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to grant a general amnesty to several prominent figures.

One of the people who could have benefitted from the measure was her own brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, a former prime minister convicted in absentia for, among other things, corruption and abuse of power.

Today, pro-democracy groups called for protests against the Constitutional Court's ruling.