The Constitutional Court has accepted the opposition’s request to interpret the prime minister’s tenure and ordered the premier to suspend duties for the time being. The work suspension order will remain in effect until the court reaches its verdict on whether Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has served in office for more than 8 years.
Constitutional Court justices unanimously accepted the request by 171 opposition MPs to interpret the prime minister’s tenure length. The charter court judges also issued an order for Gen. Prayut to stop performing duties in the capacity of prime minister from Tuesday onward. This order will remain in effect until the court rules on the premier’s length of time in office, in a verdict expected in September.
The court noted that the interpretation request was in line with Section 170 of the charter and an associated organic law. It is also demanding that Gen Prayut provide his explanation to the court within 15 days of receiving a copy of the request document.
Responding to the court order, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said Gen Prayut must suspend his work from Tuesday onward and also provide the court with clarifications within 15 days. Dr Wissanu added that the prime minister’s legal team has already prepared its clarification statement, although some modifications may be necessary.
Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, in his capacity as the primary deputy prime minister, will perform his duties in the place of the prime minister. Dr Wissanu meanwhile assured that the Cabinet of Ministers will remain unchanged as Gen Prayut was not removed from his position, but is only suspending his work. Gen Prayut will also be able to continue serving as minister of defense.
Dr Wissanu also explained the acting prime minister post may be filled by another individual should Gen Prawit be unable to do so, though he saw no reason why this would be the case. He added that the acting premier has the power to dissolve parliament, but said he does not see why such a decision would be necessary. (NNT)