Thailand court to rule on Sept. 30 if PM Prayuth must quit

Sep 13, 2022, 11:56 AM | Updated: 11:58 pm

FILE - Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha attends a no-confidence debate at the Parliament i...

FILE - Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha attends a no-confidence debate at the Parliament in Bangkok, Thailand, on July 19, 2022. Thailand’s Constitutional Court announced Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022, that it will issue a ruling on Sept. 30 on whether Prayuth has already served the eight-year legal limit in the position and must step down. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)

(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s Constitutional Court will rule on Sept. 30 whether suspended Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has already served eight years in office and must resign.

Prayuth, then the Thai army commander, led a coup that ousted an elected government eight years ago, and critics who contend he came to power illegitimately say he has exceeded the term limit set by a 2017 constitution.

The court last month suspended Prayuth as prime minister pending its ruling on a petition signed by 171 members of the House of Representatives. The nine-member court said Wednesday it had sufficient witnesses and evidence to proceed to a ruling.

After the May 2014 coup, the ruling junta installed Prayuth as prime minister on Aug. 24, 2014, under an interim post-coup constitution.

The petitioners and critics of the government say, based on that date, he was legally obliged to leave office last month. Others contend the starting date of his time as prime minister should be the date the current constitution was adopted on April 6, 2017. Some argue that the countdown began on June 9, 2019, when Prayuth took office following a 2019 general election.

Prayuth remains in the Cabinet as defense minister, while Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan is acting prime minister.

Prawit would be expected to take over the prime minister’s position if the court rules against Prayuth, though that is not a certainty. A new election must be called by March.

If Prawit takes over as prime minister, no changes in policies are likely, since he and Prayuth are both former army commanders and comrades in arms for decades backed by a political party set up as a proxy for military interests.

Prayuth’s critics also accuse him of retaining power illegitimately because his junta-imposed government passed election laws that handicapped its major opponents. He has also been accused of mishandling the economy and botching Thailand’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the courts, like the military, are a key element of the nation’s ruling class, and consistently have turned back challenges to the conservative established order.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


OpenAI CEO Sam Altman speaks in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Tuesday, June 6, 2023. Altman on T...

Associated Press

OpenAI CEO suggests international agency like UN’s nuclear watchdog could oversee AI

Artificial intelligence poses an “existential risk” to humanity, a key innovator warned during a visit to the United Arab Emirates

8 hours ago

Mt. Rainier death...

Associated Press

Missing Mount Rainier climber’s body found in crevasse; he was celebrating 80th birthday

Search crews on Mount Rainier have found the body of a man matching the description of an 80-year-old solo climber reported missing

1 day ago

Washington gun restrictions...

Associated Press

Judge rejects attempt to block new Washington state gun restrictions

A federal judge on Tuesday rejected a request to block a new Washington state law banning the sale of certain semi-automatic rifles

2 days ago

FILE - A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference, April 28, 2015,...

Associated Press

Microsoft will pay $20M to settle U.S. charges of illegally collecting children’s data

Microsoft will pay a fine of $20 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it illegally collected and retained the data of children

2 days ago

FILE - OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman gestures while speaking at University College London as part of his ...

Associated Press

OpenAI boss ‘heartened’ by talks with world leaders over will to contain AI risks

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said Monday he was encouraged by a desire shown by world leaders to contain any risks posed by the artificial intelligence technology his company and others are developing.

3 days ago

FILE - The draft of a bill that President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., neg...

Associated Press

Debt deal imposes new work requirements for food aid and that frustrates many Democrats

Democrats are deeply conflicted about the debt ceiling deal, fearing damage has been done to safety net programs

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Men's Health Month...

Men’s Health Month: Why It’s Important to Speak About Your Health

June is Men’s Health Month, with the goal to raise awareness about men’s health and to encourage men to speak about their health.

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

Thailand court to rule on Sept. 30 if PM Prayuth must quit