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How the Drama Surrounding Thailand’s Prime Minister May Unfold

  • Court suspension fuels speculation Prayuth may get replaced
  • Thailand’s elections must be called by March next year
Thai soldiers take over the streets surrounding the Victory Monument in Bangkok on May 30, 2014.
Thai soldiers take over the streets surrounding the Victory Monument in Bangkok on May 30, 2014.Photographer: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Thailand’s Constitutional Court surprised the nation last week by suspending Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha, a former army chief who first took power in a 2014 coup and stayed on following an election five years later. 

The court, whose members were largely picked by a military-appointed Senate, took the action while it deliberates on whether Prayuth exceeded an eight-year term limit added into the post-coup constitution. That provision was intended to prevent popular elected leaders from holding power too long, particularly after the army forcibly removed Thaksin Shinawatra in 2006 and his sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, in 2014.