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    Thailand court to rule if PM Prayuth must quit

    BANGKOK (AP) – Thailand’s Constitutional Court will rule on September 30 whether suspended Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has already served eight years in office and must resign.

    Prayuth, then the Thai army commander, led a coup that ousted an elected government eight years ago, and critics who contend he came to power illegitimately said he has exceeded the term limit set by a 2017 constitution.

    The court last month suspended Prayuth as prime minister pending its ruling on a petition signed by 171 members of the House of Representatives.

    The nine-member court said yesterday it had sufficient witnesses and evidence to proceed to a ruling.

    After the May 2014 coup, the ruling junta installed Prayuth as prime minister on August 24, 2014, under an interim post-coup constitution.

    The petitioners and critics of the government said, based on that date, he was legally obliged to leave office last month.

    Others contend the starting date of his time as prime minister should be the date the current constitution was adopted on April 6, 2017. Some argue that the countdown began on June 9, 2019, when Prayuth took office following a 2019 general election.

    Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. PHOTO: AP
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