By Thai Newsroom Reporters
PRIME MINISTER PRAYUT Chan-o-cha may legally perform as defence minister, the post which he has concurrently assumed, if he is ordered by court to stop performing as head of government in the wake of a legal controversy over his eight-year rule, said Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam today (August 22).
Prayut may practically hold onto the defence portfolio and attend cabinet meetings at Government House while leaving the top post of government to Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan to perform as a caretaker one if the Constitutional Court orders him to immediately stop performing as prime minister until a court ruling on his eight-year rule maximumly provided by law has been delivered, Wissanu said.
Given the fact that no law prohibits a prime minister from concurrently performing in other capacities, Prayut could continue to run the defence portfolio though he may be immediately stopped by court from running the country as premier, according to the deputy premier in charge of legal affairs.
Wissanu said it remains to be seen whether the Constitutional Court may ever issue an order for Prayut to immediately stop performing as head of government after a petition filed by the Pheu Thai-led opposition bloc calling for a court ruling on his eight-year tenure has been formally accepted.
Opposition lawmakers, academics and other critics of the embattled premier have strongly insisted that Prayut’s eight-year rule is ending on the upcoming Wednesday in accordance with the current constitution.
The charter’s clauses stipulate that one may run the country as head of government for no longer than eight years either in consecutive or non-consecutive fashion and his or her tenure may be legally retroactive.
On August 24, 2014, Prayut was named under a royal command as head of a military-installed government following a coup which he himself had orchestrated as army chief on May 22 that year.
Meanwhile, Khana Lom Ruam Prachachon (Group For the Melting of the People) activists have planned to resume a mass movement against Prayut at the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s Larn Khon Mueang open ground near Democracy Monument tomorrow.
The political activists, led by Jatuporn Prompan and Nititorn Lamlua, might probably spearhead an anti-Prayut street protest to proceed to spots near Government House, barely a few kilometres from the BMA headquarters, and probably lay siege to the premier’s office.
Road barricades have already been erected and police armed with batons and shields put on alert on the perimeters of Government House.
The leading activists dared Prayut to not dissolve the House of Representatives or step down so that, they said, the people’s upheaval would occur to oust him as an “outlawed” prime minister.
Top: Protesters at Larn Khon Muang amid dark storm clouds yesterday. Photo: INN News
Front Page: Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam. Photo: Matichon Weekly