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(December 4, 2020) Ruling adds to popular grievances

Anyone who has wondered or insinuated that the student-led protest movement for Thailand's fundamental reforms must somehow be sponsored by some foreign government or politically motivated agents at home need look no further than the Constitutional Court's unanimous decision to clear Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha of violating the 2017 charter by staying in army housing after retirement. In a 9-to-0 verdict, the nine-member bench sided with an army regulation over charter stipulations. The controversial verdict will exacerbate Thailand's political polarisation and add to popular grievances that are backing the student-led reform drive.

When no longer on active duty, army officers are supposed to give up their perquisites, particularly the use of housing, utilities and servants free of charge. Yet a subsequent army regulation exempted commanders-in-chief from the rule if they "continue to serve the country well". The Constitutional Court's conclusion that Gen Prayut did not violate an ethics code or commit conflicts of interest as a state official holds far-reaching implications.

www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/2029787/ruling-adds-to-popular-grievances


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