By Thai Newsroom Reporters
A PROMINENT LAW ACADEMIC yesterday (August 13) advised that the ongoing controversy over Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s eight-year tenure be primarily settled on the basis of the recorded design and letter of the constitution and not of anyone’s arbitrary assumptions.
Munin Pongsapan, dean of Thammasat University’s Faculty of Law, posted on his Facebook page to suggest that the contentious issue be primarily determined on the basis of the design and letter of the constitution instead of anyone’s arbitrary notions largely expressed for the time being.
Though the design of the drafters of the constitution may have differed from that of the constitution itself, the former might probably shed some light on the latter in relation to the principles and rationale written as the letter of the constitution and recorded in minutes of the meetings of the constitution drafting committee, according to the Thammasat dean.
“The letter written in the constitution does not lie or change over time or in any environment,” Munin concluded.
That refers to the 2017 constitution drafted by a military-installed Constitution Drafting Committee with legal guru Mechai Ruchupan and former judge of the Constitutional Court Supot Khaimook acting as chairman and vice chairman respectively.
According to minutes of the meetings of the drafting panel, Mechai and Supot’s recorded designs are basically intended to prohibit one from assuming premiership longer than eight years either in consecutive or non-consecutive fashion.
Relevant clauses of the charter stipulate that one’s assumption of the premiership or other cabinet posts starts from the year in which he or she may have begun to run the country, regardless of the year in which the constitution may have been promulgated.
Prayut who has practically run the country since 2014, the year in which he staged a coup as army chief and named himself head of a military-installed government has earlier declined to make comments on the issue and only said it will be settled by the Constitutional Court.
Meanwhile, the Pheu Thai-led opposition bloc has planned to petition the Constitutional Court on August 17 for a final ruling on Prayut’s eight-year tenure maximumly provided by law.
Various opposition lawmakers, academics and other government critics have strongly insisted that Prayut’s eight-year tenure is ending on the upcoming August 24 on account of his having run the country since the coup year of 2014.
Nevertheless, pro-Prayut figures have contended that the unelected premier’s tenure may not have ended until 2025 and may have started from 2017, the year in which the constitution was promulgated or even until 2027 on account of 2019, the year in which a general election was held and saw him successfully named head of the Palang Pracharath-led coalition government.
Top: Munin Pongsapan, dean of Thammasat University’s Faculty of Law.
Front Page: Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Photo: Matichon