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Thai Court Suspended Prime Minister Prayuth Pending Term Limit Review

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Thai Court Suspended Prime Minister Prayuth Pending Term Limit Review

(CTN News) – Thailand’s Constitutional Court on Wednesday suspended Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha from official duties as punishment for the 2014 coup that toppled an elected government.

In elections, parliamentary manoeuvres, and legal proceedings, opposition parties have tried to loosen Prayuth’s grip on power but have failed.

WHAT LED TO THE SUSPENSION?

The court suspended Thai PM while it considers a petition that he has reached a term limit set by the 2017 constitution, which was written by a military committee after the coup and passed by referendum.

As a result of the army junta Prayuth led naming him prime minister in August 2014, a few months after the coup, he reached his limit this week, according to the petition.

In Wednesday’s decision, the court accepted and investigated the petition.

According to some Prayuth supporters, his premiership actually began in 2017 when the new constitution took effect.

Prayuth’s term is sometimes dated to 2019, when his pro-army party won elections.

Eventually, parliament elected him civilian prime minister in a skewed process that favored pro-army candidates, according to opposition politicians. Prayuth’s government claims the elections were free and fair.

WHO IS IN CHARGE NOW?

According to government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri, 77-year-old Prawit Wongsuwan will be the interim leader after the court suspended Prayuth.

COULD PRAYUTH BE RESTORED?

Yes. Prayuth could be reinstated if the court rules that his term officially began in 2017 or 2019.

Accordingly, he could stay in power until 2025 or 2027, depending on the results of the next elections.

COULD THERE BE ELECTIONS SOON?

A sitting prime minister has the power to dissolve the elected House of Representatives early to call early elections, which are due by May next year.

After a dissolution of the house, an election would be held within 60 days.

Elections, however, are unlikely until after Thailand hosts the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ summit in November.

Panu Wongcha-um and Panarat Thepgumpanat reported; Kay Johnson wrote; Clarence Fernandez edited.

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