The Constitutional Court has voted five to four judges to immediately suspend Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-ocha, as opposition MPs demanded.
Thailand's Constitutional Court on Wednesday suspended Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha, time to determine whether he can stay beyond the eight-year limit in power set by the Constitution, opening a political crisis a few months from now. #x27;general elections.
The body may take several weeks to resolve this legal knot which has put tension in the capital Bangkok, where demonstrations took place on Tuesday.
Opposition deputies, professors, student unions… Many voices have been raised to demand the departure of Prayut Chan-ocha, who, according to them, has reached the limit eight years in office set out in the 2017 Constitution.
But for his supporters, two interpretations could allow the 68-year-old former general, approved as prime minister by the king on August 24, 2014 following a coup x27;State, to remain until 2025 or 2027, if re-elected in 2023.
Let the Constitutional Court decide, merely said the week latest, who has been dodging questions on this hot topic for the past few days.
The Constitutional Court officially started its examination on Wednesday. She voted five judges to four to immediately suspend the prime minister, as demanded by opposition MPs behind the seizure.
Anucha Burachaisri, a spokesman for the Prime Minister's office, called on all groups to respect the court's rulings and avoid criticizing it.
Deputy Prime Minister and number two in the government Prawit Wongsuwan, 77, will serve as interim prime minister.
General Prawit Wongsuwan will serve as interim prime minister because& #x27;he is the first on the succession list of deputy prime ministers, Wissanu Krea-ngam, also deputy prime minister (there are six), told the press.
The current government will continue its work normally, because General Prayut was not expelled from his post, but only suspended, the leader continued, recalling that Prayut Chan-ocha will continue to sit in the government as Minister of Defence, a position he held in duplicate of that of Prime Minister.
General Prawit Wongsuwan.
If the announcement of this suspension is a surprise, the experts questioned expect to see the Court decide in the direction of Prayut Chan-ocha, who has resisted all the crises since 2014, in particular during the demonstrations prodemocracy masses of 2020.
The long list of one-sided decisions that benefited Prayut Chan-ocha speaks for itself […] at the end of his term, beyond the eight-year limit, explained Thitinan Pongsudhirak, professor of political science at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.
At issue , the 2017 Constitution, drafted under the military junta and considered favorable to the interests of the army.
The legitimacy of the Constitutional Court has been debated since its creation [in 1997]. It was already politicized when Thaksin Shinawatra was Prime Minister [2001-2006]. It is expected that she will decide in favor of Prayut Chan-ocha, adds Napisa Waitoolkiat, political analyst at Naresuan University.
A reading pro-Prayut of this text takes as a starting point the calculation of the eight years 2017, that is to say the entry into force of the Constitution. Another even takes 2019 as a starting point, the year of the legislative elections that legitimized his power.
Since Tuesday, containers left by the authorities have blocked the road leading to the government house in Bangkok, where more than a hundred people have called for the departure of the Prime Minister.
The suspension could reshuffle the cards in view of the 2023 general elections.
A former general like Prayut Chan-ocha, to whom he is very close, Prawit Wongsuwan is also the leader of the Palang Pracharat , the main ruling party.
It's like sailing a boat in a bathtub, passing from General Prayut to General Prawit, reacted Pita Limjaroenrat, leader of Move Forward, one of the opposition parties, which is calling for fresh blood.
Prawit Wongsuwan was overtaken in 2018 by a scandal that revealed more than one million euros worth of undeclared luxury watches in its assets. He was later cleared of corruption suspicions.
One of his main files will be the preparation of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bangkok, November 18 and 19.