Prayut not looking to dissolve parliament to fend off 8-year term limit, says govt

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General Prayut Chan-o-cha has no intention of dissolving the parliament to avoid being ousted by a Constitutional Court’s ruling after opposition parties filed a petition to seek the judgment of the court on the term limit of the 2014 coup leader.

“The prime minister insisted that there will be no house dissolution,” Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, the government spokesman said on Wednesday.

His comments came after Prayut refused to answer reporters’ questions about the latest speculation over a possible dissolution of the parliament.

The speculation of a possible house dissolution was fueled by a new set of regulations for procedures after a parliament was dissolved that was introduced on the royal gazette on Monday.

Opposition parties on Wednesday filed a petition to House Speaker Chuan Leekpai for him to ask the court to rule on Prayut’s term limit, a week before August 24 when they believe his tenure should expire.

According to the charter, a premier can only stay in power for up to 8 years.

The opposition said Prayut’s term should be counted since he came into power via the coup in 2014 while his supporters said it should be counted from April 2017, when the current charter came into effect.

Following up on the filing of the petition, there was speculation that Prayut would dissolve the parliament before the court can provide its verdict because if he dissolved the house, he would be able to stay as interim premier until a new cabinet is set up, no matter what the court ruling may be.

Citing a high-level source within the Election Commission (EC), which drafted the new set of regulations that guarantee Prayut’s interim premier position if the house was dissolved, Khaosod published an article on Wednesday which claimed that the regulations were drafted and forwarded to the Office of the Prime Minister since 2020.

The source also said that it is up to the Secretariat of the Cabinet to decide when laws should be announced on the royal gazette, not the EC.

However, Thanakorn said he does not know why the new set of regulations was announced on Monday but said that it was not a preparation to dissolve the house.

“The EC has always been preparing for elections, such as the gubernatorial elections in Bangkok and Pattaya,” he said.

“I personally believe that the Thai economy is recovering after the Covid-19 situation has deescalated and this was because of the prime minister’s guidance and the recovery is benefitting the country so I do not want to see politics ruining this vibe or causing trouble for the country as the prime minister should be spending his time to work for the people instead,” he said.


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