To the immediate surprise of no one, the Constitutional Court ruled Wednesday that Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha was not guilty of violating ethics law by living in military housing long after his retirement.
With members of his ruling party acknowledging they hadn’t even considered the need to replace him – a guilty verdict would have stripped him of the premiership he’s held since seizing power in 2014 – the court’s ruling was widely expected.
The court’s nine judges unanimously agreed that Prayuth did no wrong in living on base, even though he retired from the army in 2014.
Due to the “good deeds” Prayuth has done for the country as prime minister and former army commander-in-chief, the position he held when he staged his coup, the court ruled Prayuth is entitled to stay in what it called an “army guesthouse” at the 1st Infantry Battalion headquarters on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road.
Though it has decisively ended entire political parties by judicial decree in the past, the court ruled that Prayuth’s previous service to the army, which he led as commander until his 2014 retirement, entitled him to living on base despite taking on the mantle of civilian leadership as prime minister.
He had been accused of violating the constitution’s ethical provisions by accepting military housing. The court’s ruling was closely aligned with the arguments Prayuth made in his defense. The judges agreed that Prayuth serves in an “important position” for the country and therefore must be provided a high level of security to perform his duties.
A protest called for this afternoon outside the court was moved to the Lat Phrao Intersection.