The Thai Constitutional Court ruled this afternoon just moments ago that Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan O’Cha was not guilty in a case involving alleged misuse of military housing that was filed by the main government opposition party.
First, get caught up on the prior story here:
The Constitutional Court deemed the Prime Minister not guilty for several reasons. These included:
-The Prime Minister was former Chief of the Army and was entitled to housing benefits and served the nation significantly, according to the court.
-The house where the Prime Minister stays is legally flagged as a guesthouse and not a “Welfare House” which is a state benefit. This was one of the main points in the judgment.
-There is a precedent in the Army of other officials staying past retirement in similar situations without legal violations, including government members like General Prawit Wongsuwon and Interior Minister General Anupong Paojinda. (Editor’s Note: There are, in fact, nearly 100 current Army officials according to associated Thai Press staying in military housing past retirement in similar situations, so this was not a unique situation.)
-The Military did not object to the situation and evidence was reportedly shown that the security reasons stated by the Prime Minister for staying at the military base was correct.
An immediate response from pro-democracy protesters and government officials was not given. Protesters plan to gather at 4:00 PM in Bangkok at the Lad Phrao intersection and have previously warned that if the decision was not guilty, which it was, they would show their displeasure with a mass rally and express their opinion.
Early response from prominent protest leaders on Twitter were negative, alleging that the decision showed the military was above the constitution according to one prominent protest leader, Mike Rayong.