Eight years ago, then-army chief Prayuth Chan-Ocha staged a coup in Thailand and ripped up the constitution. On Tuesday, he was suspended as prime minister until a court determines whether he violated the new charter produced by his allies.

The surprise action by Thailand’s Constitutional Court puts Prayuth on the sidelines at least temporarily until it rules on whether he breached an eight-year term limit, which his opponents say began after he seized power in 2014. Prayuth stayed on as prime minister following a 2019 election under rules that heavily favored his military-aligned political group.

His suspension by the court, whose members are approved by the military-appointed Senate, raises questions about whether Thailand’s power brokers are looking to replace him ahead of another election that must be called by March 2023. And even if Prayuth ends up staying, any ruling would start the clock ticking on his tenure and put the focus on possible successors.