The Constitutional Court ruled in favour of Gen Prayut, saying that his tenure has not reached its limit yet because it started on April 6, 2017, when the present charter took effect, reports Bangkok Post.
The ruling was delivered in Bangkok, with the reading starting at 3pm. The decision was by a majority vote.
The case began in mid-August when the Constitutional Court accepted the petition asking for a ruling on Gen Prayut’s eight-year tenure as prime minister.
The petition was signed by 171 MPs from the opposition bloc who believe Gen Prayut’s term started on Aug 24, 2014, when he first became prime minister under the provisional constitution enforced after he led the coup on May 22 of that year.
Gen Prayut’s supporters say his term started when he was appointed PM under the 2017 charter in June 2019.
According to Section 158 of the constitution, the maximum term of a prime minister is eight years (whether or not the terms are consecutive).
On Aug 24, the court voted 5-4 to suspend Gen Prayut until it hands down its ruling on his term limit. Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon became caretaker prime minister while Gen Prayut remained in Cabinet in his role as defence minister.
Today (Sept 30), the Constitutional Court ruled that Gen Prayut’s term started on April 6, 2017, when the present charter took effect. His previous leadership did not apply under the 2017 constitution.
Thus Gen Prayut’s tenure ends in 2025, the Constitutional Court ruled.