New Document: Prayut Could Remain in Power Until 2025

General Prayut Chan-o-cha’s tenure limit came under discussion again on Tuesday after a document believed to have been authored by Meechai Ruchuphan, former chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC), said the suspended prime minister could remain in office until 2025 because his duties had officially started in 2017.

The written statement released on social media said that General Prayut’s mandate had started when the current constitution came into force, that is, on April 6, 2017. Therefore, his role as prime minister before that date should not be considered and he can remain in power for three more years.

However, media reports noted that the documents released by Mr. Meechai regarding General Prayut’s disputed mandate were unverified and incomplete.

Thailand’s Constitutional Court decided to suspend General Prayut from his duties as prime minister after his detractors filed a petition asking a jury to rule on when his term should end.

The opposition said his term as prime minister should conclude on August 24 this year, arguing that it began when the 2014 provisional constitution came into force after that year’s May 22 coup.

However, General Prayut’s supporters, including acting Prime Minister General Prawit, expect him to remain in power for at least two more years.

The court decided to suspend General Prayut from his post pending a ruling on the term limit. However, the jury needed to confirm the statements of three people, including Mr. Meechai, before ruling on the case.

The other two people are General Prayut himself and former CDC Secretary Pakorn Nilprapunt.

Mr. Meechai has not been available to answer media questions about the reports.

The Constitutional Court is expected to discuss the issue tomorrow. However, prime minister advisor Maj Gen Veera Rojanavas said Tuesday that he did not expect the court to reach a ruling this Thursday.

Meanwhile, General Prayut continues to serve as defense minister in the cabinet. Moreover, Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul claimed that the issue would not pose any problem for the government and that all officials would complete their mandate by March 22, 2023, as expected.