Political activists demand Thai PM quits at the end of his tenure

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha may have survived the vote of no confidence just over a week ago but the pressure is still on for him to stand down after a political activist group cranked up more opposition to his tenure.

PM Prayut and 10 other cabinet ministers rode the political storm at the censure debate between July 19 and July 24 and won a vote of confidence held at the end of proceedings.

Gen Prayut secured 256 votes of confidence against 206 votes of no confidence with nine abstentions. But that has not stopped a political activist group from calling for the Thai PM to quit before the end of this month.

The Campaign for Popular Democracy group has called on PM Prayut “abide by the law” and step down when his term expires on August 24.

Metha Maskhao, secretary-general of the Campaign for Popular Democracy, said yesterday that 99 people have signed a petition calling on the 68 year old chief to stand down when his tenure ends.

“The petitioners include academics and business people.”

On August 24 Pm Prayut will have served two consecutive four year terms following the coup in 2014.

The Thai Constitution states that a prime minister can only serve two terms and a maximum of eight years.

Article 158 of the Constitution states that “The prime minister shall not hold office for more than eight years in total, whether or not consecutively. However, it shall not include the period during which the prime minister carries out duties after vacating office.”

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, who is in charge of the government’s legal affairs, said earlier that the eight-year limit should not have a retroactive effect on PM Prayut.

Wissanu stated the period should start on the date that the current Constitution was promulgated, and not the day Gen Prayut became prime minister after leading the 2014 coup.

Professor Udom Rathamarit, spokesman for the now-defunct Constitution Drafting Commission and former dean of Thammasat University’s Faculty of Law, added that the eight-year period should start on June 6, 2019, when Prayut was appointed prime minister by Royal command after the general election.

But Boonsong Chaletorn, deputy dean of Rangsit University’s Institute of Public Administration, urged PM Prayut to “wash his hands of politics” and stand down, as Gen Prem Tinsulanonda did in 1988 after serving as prime minister for over eight years.

“In this way, (Gen Prayut) will benefit the country more than if he stubbornly clings to the office for another term.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post Thai PBS

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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