Manipulating the basic law

31 03 2019

Article 158 of the junta’s 2017 constitution states:

The Prime Minister shall not hold office for more than eight years in total, whether or not holding consecutive term. However, it shall not include the period during which the Prime Minister carries out duties after vacating office.

Article 171 of the 2007 constitution stated:

Flagrant, blatant, barefaced, overt, brazen, brash, audacious, outrageous, undisguised, unconcealed, unabashed, unashamed, unrepentant manipulation

The Prime Minister shall not serve in office more than eight years.

We know that General Prayuth Chan-ocha had himself appointed prime minister on 24 August 2014 and that he made himself acting prime minister from 22 May to 24 August 2014 when the “acting” bit disappeared. That’s 4 years, 10 months, and 10 days. If he’s hoisted into the prime minister’s seat again, we can say that he will have forcibly occupied it for 5 years.

According to the constitution, then, most sensible people would conclude that Gen Prayuth could only serve another 3 years. But those sensible people would all be wrong.

At least that’s according to the junta’s chief “legal” interpreter, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam. We might recall that Prime MInister Gen Prayuth was also recently declared, by other regime flunkies, to be eligible to be prime minister because he was not a state official. Given that Gen Prayuth had declared himself a state official, this bit of manipulation was blatant.

Wissanu’s shameless manipulation is in declaring that “Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha will not have to leave office early if re-elected [sic.] as prime minister…” because

… the prime ministerial candidate of the pro-government Palang Pracharath Party [Gen Prayuth] has served less than two years as head of government under the current charter, thus is eligible for a full term if reelected to office.

Such flagrant, blatant, barefaced, overt, brazen, brash, audacious, outrageous, undisguised, unconcealed, unabashed, unashamed, and unrepentant manipulation seems par for the course for this regime. They just keep concocting stuff to suit themselves even if that means ditching their own laws, including the constitution. We are sure that the compliant Constitutional Court would probably do the same.


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