By Thai Newsroom Reporters
THE LAWYERS ASSOCIATION of Thailand has called on Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to step down before a legal controversy over his eight years in power is finally settled in court.
The lawyers association today (August 11) issued a statement signed by Narinpong Jinapuck, president of the association, advising Prayut to step down to preempt a ruling of the Constitutional Court on his eight-year tenure maximumly provided by law.
The association cites the constitution’s clauses as stipulating that one’s tenure of premiership get started from the year in which he or she has begun to run the country either before, during or after the year in which the charter was promulgated.
The constitution was designed to keep one from abusing or monopolising powers if given a longer period of time to run the country than necessary or appropriate, thus prohibiting his or her tenure of premiership from lasting longer than eight years either in consecutive or non-consecutive fashion, the lawyers association’s statement says.
One’s abused powers could possibly lead to corruption, nepotism, a political crisis and enormous damage to the country as a whole, according to the statement citing the constitution’s design.
Given the fact that Prayut has become prime minister since August 24, 2014 following a coup which he himself orchestrated that year, his eight-year tenure maximumly provided by law is ending on that date of this month, the statement says.
The unelected Prayut who has often excused himself from rising to power by way of the coup to fight corruption and misconduct in bureaucratic and political circles may resign before the legal controversy is petitioned for a ruling by the Constitutional Court, the association’s statement says.
Any efforts being possibly made by Prayut or any of his men to prolong his rule will merely be tantamount to an act of robbing the people of their lawful, democratic power and a sheer contempt to the constitution’s design, it says.
In the meantime, Prayut has been more or less speculated to dissolve the House of Representatives in the next couple of weeks to circumvent the Constitutional Court’s ruling on his eight-year tenure.
The House might possibly be dissolved by the embattled premier soon after the 2023 budget bill has passed final approval from the House and been forwarded to the Senate.
Nevertheless, Prayut may dissolve the House and automatically call a general election ahead of August 24, the date on which his eight years in power may come to an end so that he could continue to run the country as head of a caretaker government until a post-election one has been set up, according to Thanakrit Worathanatchakul of the Office of Attorney General.
Prayut could by no means perform as a caretaker premier or act as host of APEC meetings in Bangkok for which he has enthusiastically planned only if he dissolved the House on or after August 24, the date on which he will have completed his eight-year tenure, Thanakrit quoted the constitution’s clauses as stipulating.
Mr. Narinpong Jinapuck, president of the Lawyers Association of Thailand, left, and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, right. Top photo: Matichon, Front Page photo: Matichon Weekly