Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, a prominent figure in the Seree Ruam Thai (Thai Liberal) Party and currently serving as the chairman of strategy and policy, has voiced his opinion on the possible extension of the Prayut government’s tenure after the May 14 election. He believes that there is absolutely no justification for the outgoing Prayut administration to maintain its position in power beyond a two-month period once the election is over.
Concerns have been raised by critics who fear that the government might look for ways to extend its caretaker role, which could involve posing a challenge that hampers the Election Commission (EC) from endorsing the results within the stipulated deadline. As per the existing laws, the EC is mandated to endorse at least 95% of election contests, which equates to 475 MPs, within a two-month timeframe. Only then can the House convene its inaugural meeting after the election to choose the country’s next prime minister.
Drawing attention to the 2019 election, Somchai pointed out that the EC had only requested for the re-election of a single constituency poll, following the disqualification of its initial winner. He continued to press his argument by stating that even in a hypothetical situation where the EC opts to disqualify 20 election winners, the Prayut government would merely be able to stretch its influence for an additional couple of weeks during the required period for election reruns.
“I believe there will be no reason for the caretaker government to extend its time in power longer than that,” Somchai reiterated. Furthermore, he mentioned that the only circumstance that may hinder the EC from endorsing the election results would be if its members decided to resign. However, he dismissed this idea as highly unlikely and unrealistic.