The court’s order came after it ruled to accept the petition asking for a ruling on his eight-year tenure as prime minister, reports the Bangkok Post.
The petition was forwarded from Parliament to the court on Monday.
The opposition has asked the court to rule on his tenure, when it began and ends, as it is still open to interpretation.
Critics say his term should end today (Aug 24) as his first day in office should be counted from Aug 24, 2014, when he was named prime minister after leading a military coup in May, while his supporters say the count should start on June 9, 2019, after the present constitution came into force in 2017.
The court said the nine judges unanimously agreed to accept the petition for consideration and ordered the person named in the petition ‒ the prime minister in this case ‒ to counter the petition before the court within 15 days of receiving official notification.
However, the decision to suspend him from work was by a majority vote, it said.
The court did not say when it will make a ruling on the issue raised in the petition.
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon is now caretaker prime minister while Gen Prayut remains in Cabinet in his role as defence minister, a government spokesman said later today.
Anucha Burapachaisri said Gen Prawit will remain caretaker prime minister until the Constitutional Court makes its ruling on Gen Prayut’s tenure as prime minister.
Gen Prayut continues to serve as defence minister in the Cabinet, he confirmed.
The spokesman’s statement cleared the air over who would temporarily guide the Cabinet in the wake of the court’s order.
Gen Prawit is highest in the hierarchy of the six deputy prime ministers, according to an order of the Prime Minister’s Office signed by Gen Prayut in 2020.
The court accepted the petition of the opposition parties questioning the eight-year tenure of Gen Prayut and ordered him suspended from premiership until the judges’ ruling. The order takes effect immediately.
“Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha hopes that people will respect the decision of the court and avoid making criticism of the performance of the court,” the spokesman said.