Opposition Asks Constitutional Court To Define When Prayut’s Tenure Ends

The opposition formally asked the Constitutional Court to define when Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s eight-year term began and should end.

While the government says it has two more years in power, the opposition argues that General Prayut’s eight-year term ends on August 24.

As a result, opposition politicians have warned the prime minister that dissolving the House before his term expires could cause a political vacuum.

On Wednesday, opposition parties’ leaders, including Move Forward’s Pita Limjaroenrat and Pheu Thai’s Cholnan Srikaew, filed their petition to Parliament President Chuan Leekpai for submission to the Constitutional Court.

In the petition, the opposition argued that an injunction would stop any potential harm and requested the court to order a temporary one prohibiting Gen Prayut from carrying out his duties while the court considers his eight-year term’s limit date.

Opposition politicians expressed confidence that the court would analyze the facts and legal issues surrounding the dispute, especially the constitution’s objective to limit tenure and prevent a monopoly and succession of power that would cause strife in society.

According to Dr. Cholnan, the main reason behind the House dissolution is the conflict between the executive and legislative branches.

However, there has been no conflict between the two parties, meaning there is no reason to support dissolution other than an attempt to prolong power, the leading Pheu Thai added. People would strongly reject the move, leading to a power vacuum, he warned.

If General Prayut decides to dissolve the House on August 22, as is speculated, there would be no law on elections. Therefore, the prime minister is expected to scrap the plan, as the electoral law is about to be sent for royal approval.

General Prayut and other ministers in his cabinet could remain in office if the court rules that he cannot stay in power as he has completed his eight-year term under the constitution. Deputy prime minister General Prawit Wongsuwon might serve as acting prime minister if the court imposes General Prayut’s suspension from duty.

According to the parliament’s president, the petition filed by the opposition had the legal backing required. However, it has to be accepted for examination before being sent to court in a day or two.