Thailand’s Constitutional Court is expected to issue a ruling today on the case of Prime Minister Prayut Chanocha, who is accused of illegally overstaying his residency in military-owned facilities after retiring from the army. The ruling would oblige him to abdicate his office.
The prime minister was first accused of abusing his power by living at the Royal Guard’s First Infantry Battalion in February. Some 56 parliamentary members argued that Prayut’s residence was a conflict of interest as he no longer retained his former role of army chief. Prayuth defended himself by arguing that his residency was justified due to security concerns.
The People’s Party will protest today’s ruling in support of Prayut’s ousting. While recent protests have focused on Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn, today’s protest parallels others that demanded constitutional change and an end to the military’s influence in government.
While a legal declaration against Prayuth’s legitimacy would establish renewed faith in an institution that has long been viewed as corrupt, it is unlikely that the Constitutional Court will rule against Prayut as the court has historically sided with the military on matters of the state. Thus, today’s decision is likely to spur more protest until democratic reforms are underway or a crackdown commences.
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Trey is the Chief Editor of Foreign Brief's Analysis division. He specializes in Southeast Asia’s political, economic, and security environments, particularly as they relate to US and Chinese foreign policy strategies.