A group of 51 law lecturers from 15 universities have submitted an open letter, addressed to the president and judges of the Constitutional Court, insisting that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s 8-year term in office is due to come to an end on August 24th.
The group cited Article 158 (paragraph 4) of the Constitution B.E. 2560 (2017AD), which states that “the prime minister shall not hold office for more than eight years in total, whether or not holding consecutive terms. However, it shall not include the period during which the prime minister carries out duties after vacating office.”
They then cited Article 264 in the transitory provisions of the charter, which lists some specifications related to ministers’ qualifications which cannot be applied retroactively. There was, however, no mention of a prime minister’s term being exempt from the retroactive rule.
Since the prime minister was sworn into office on August 24th, 2014, his 8-year term should end on August 24th, said the law lecturers, as they insisted that the principle of limiting the term of a prime minister is to prevent a prime minister from monopolising political power for too long.
The group also support the contention that the 2017 Constitution should be retroactively applied to affect the prime minister’s premiership since 2014, noting that the retroactive application is intended to prevent a prime minister from staying in power for too long.
The Prime Minister is under increasing pressure from the opposition and pro-democracy groups to step down as the August 24th deadline is nearing.
The opposition parties plan to submit a petition to House Speaker Chuan Leekpai tomorrow to seek a ruling from the Constitutional Court on the prime minister’s term in office.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service