Thai Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan is tipped to succeed General Prayut Chan-o-cha as interim PM should the Constitutional Court rule that Prayut must demit office after holding the post for eight years, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said on Monday.

Prayut will finish eight years in office in August as he had taken the reins of PM on August 24, 2014 following a military coup staged by him that led to the installation of National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)-backed government.

Section 158 of the charter bars any individual from holding the post of PM for more than eight years, regardless of whether the four-year terms are served separately or back-to-back.

Wissanu said he would be the second in line to succeed Prayut as interim PM.

Once the interim PM is selected, the House Speaker will hold a meeting to select a new prime minister from the list submitted by political parties. “The candidates on the list include former PM Abhisit Vejjajiva, Anutin Charnvirakul, Chaikasem Nitisiri, Sudarat Keyuraphan, and Chadchart Sittipunt, although some of these candidates have already resigned from their parties,” said Wissanu.

Should the house reject any of the candidates on the list, members of Parliament can propose an external candidate but they must receive at least 500 of the total 750 votes. Wissanu said the last scenario was “very unlikely”.

The interim PM can stay in office until March next year, which is when the term of the current Parliament ends.

Wissanu said he had clarified on this matter as there are rumours doing the rounds of an “accident” forcing Prayut to leave office soon. Since then, there have been speculations about who would take over as PM from Prayut.