Thai court to give decision on Prayuth’s tenure as PM on Sept 30

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Opposition say his term began after he seized power in a coup in 2014, but his supporters argue otherwise.

Thailand’s Constitutional Court has said it will deliver its closely watched decision on whether general-turned-politician Prayuth Chan-ocha can remain as prime minister on September 30.

Prime ministers are supposed to serve no more than eight years in office.

The opposition brought the case in August, saying that the time Prayuth spent in power after leading the 2014 coup should count towards the constitutionally-set term limit. He took office as a civilian prime minister following elections in 2019 that were held under a military-drafted constitution.

Prayuth, 68, has been suspended while the court deliberates on the case and his deputy, Prawit Wongsuwan, has taken over in a caretaker capacity. He remains defence minister.

Some of his supporters have argued that his eight years should be counted after 2017, when the new constitution took effect, or even from 2019, when the election was held.

Protesters have been calling on Prayuth to go for months and were back on the streets when the constitutional court decided that it would hear the petition and that the prime minister would be suspended for the period of the review.

Those protests, which have continued since 2020, have also included unprecedented calls for reform to the country’s powerful monarchy.

Jatuporn ‘New’ Saeoueng was sentenced to two years after being found guilty of insulting the queen with a mock red carpet appearance at a 2020 protest [File: Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP Photo]

Thailand maintains strict laws on lese-majeste and on Tuesday, an activist who wore a pink dress as she walked down a red carpet at a mock fashion show held during one of the protests, was jailed for two years after being found guilty of insulting the country’s queen.

Jatuporn ‘New’ Saeoueng wore a pink dress as she walked down the red carpet at a rally billed as a counterpoint to a fashion show being held by a daughter of the king.

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