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Thailand’s Constitutional Court could take up to 2-months to make a call on the petition that was filed by the opposition parties on the 8-year term limit of the 2014 coup leader and current Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Charan Pakdeethanakul, a former constitutional court judge, says that he believes the Constitutional Court will take at least 2 months to ensure that the court has thoroughly considered all the facts, perspectives, and most importantly, the intent of the constitutional drafters.
Charan also says that he does not believe the Constitutional Court can dismiss the petition because legal experts have unanimously agreed that there should be a ruling from the Constitutional Court.
This issue will be difficult to resolve for the court. Although the constitution is very clear that the prime minister can only stay in office for a total of 8-years, the constitution does not specify when the prime minister’s term begins.
The former judge also asserts that there is no precedent for this case.
The court will have to send a copy of the petition to the Prime Minister to hear his side of the argument. Charan is sure that the Prime Minister will have objections to the petition and this process will take at least 1-2 weeks.
Should the court take this case, they will have the authority to stop Prayut from serving as Thailand’s Prime Minister until a ruling on the case is issued, Charan says.
It is rare for the courts to ask the Prime Minister to stop serving as soon as a petition is received. Charan believes that the courts will wait for a statement from the Prime Minister before they discuss whether or not the Prime Minister should stop serving temporarily until a ruling is issued.
This will be up to the discretion of the courts as there is no precedent.
Because the constitution is unclear on this matter, Charan strongly believes that the Constitutional Court will consider the intentions of the constitutional drafters. This will require the court to take a look at various records that will help the judges understand the intention of the article in question.
Individual opinions, from the chairman of the constitutional drafting committee to various legal experts, will be up to the discretion of the judges, Charan says.