Prayut will accept court verdict on tenure: govt spokesman
Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana urged the public to wait for a Constitutional Court ruling instead of listening to views of “certain persons” on the dispute surrounding the prime minister’s tenure.
Premier Prayut Chan-o-cha will accept the ruling no matter how it turns out, Thanakorn insisted.
The opposition Pheu Thai Party had threatened to petition the court to rule that Prayut’s premiership would end on August 24 after he reached the eight-year constitutional limit.
The Pheu Thai argued Prayut’s premiership started on the day he became the prime minister of an interim government installed after the coup.
But a House of Representatives legal team believes Prayut’s tenure technically started on June 9, 2019, when he was appointed the prime minister with a royal command under the 2017 charter. The House panel said Prayut’s term would expire in 2027 instead.
Thanakorn was apparently referring to a comment by Dr Pichai Rattanadilok Na Phuket, director of the National Institute of Development Administration’s political and strategic development programme.
Pichai took to Facebook on Tuesday night to back the Pheu Thai’s argument that Prayut’s eight-year limit will be up on August 24.
Pichai backed up his argument with a minute from the meeting of the committee that drafted the current constitution.
Pichai said both the chair and deputy chair of the panel, Meechai Ruchuphan and Supoj Khaimuk, respectively, expressed their opinions in the minute that Prayut’s premiership must be counted from the promulgation of the current charter.
In the minute dated September 7, 2018, Supoj reportedly said the prime minister, who held the post before promulgation of the 2017 constitution, must have his tenure counted from the time he held the post after the promulgation if he was continually in office.
Meechai agreed with Supoj, saying Section 264 in the provisional chapter of the charter clearly stated so.
Section 264 states: “The council of ministers administering state affairs on the day prior to the date of promulgation of this Constitution shall be the council of ministers under the provisions of this Constitution until the new council of ministers appointed subsequent to the first general election under this Constitution assumes its duties.”
But Thanakorn argued on Wednesday that the opinions of Meechai and Supoj were just personal ones and did not represent the panel's formal stand.
Thanakorn said the meeting was held after the promulgation of the charter for the panel to draft a formal guideline on the intentions of the Constitution.
He said the final draft of the guideline did not include the opinions of Meechai and Supoj.
As a result, the issue should be based on the Constitutional Court ruling instead of being interpreted by certain persons who have no authority and true understanding of the principles of the law on their own, Thanakorn added.
“And the prime minister and defence minister will respect the ruling of the Constitutional Court and will not be above the law,” the spokesman made it clear.