The Move Forward Party (MFP) on Friday slammed the government, especially the ruling Pheu Thai Party, for refusing to let it chair the House committee on anti-corruption.
MFP secretary-general Chaithawat Tulathon said it was hugely disappointing that the government was refusing to allow the opposition the opportunity to head panels crucial for upholding the checks-and-balances system.
It should become traditional practice that opposition parties have the chairmanship of House committees that monitor and scrutinise the government’s work, he said.
He said the Prayut Chan-o-cha administration was more open-minded than the Srettha Thavisin government because it let the opposition chair the House committee on anti-corruption.
Mr Chaithawat was speaking after the chairmanships of 35 House committees were finalised. The number of committees assigned to political parities is proportionate to the number of MPs.
Move Forward, which leads all parties with 151 seats, is entitled to chair 11 committees, while Pheu Thai, with 141 seats, can chair 10. Bhumjaithai, the third largest with 71 seats, is eligible to chair five panels.
The main opposition party has the chair of committees that cover public spending, military and judicial affairs and independent public agencies, but failed to secure the House committee on anti-corruption from Pheu Thai.
Move Forward also failed to persuade Bhumjaithai to give up the House committees on labour and decentralisation of power.
According to deputy House Speaker Pichet Chuamuangphan, the chair allocations for the 35 committees were settled after more than three hours of negotiations.
He said the parties would submit the names of MPs to sit on each of the committees by Wednesday and the following day each committee would meet to select deputies and other positions.
In addition to the three main parties, the Palang Pracharath Party was given three committees, the United Thai Nation (UTN) and the Democrat Party have two each, and Chartthaipattana and Prachachart each have one.
Akradej Wongpitakroj, a UTN MP for Ratchaburi, said his party, which chairs the energy and industry panels, would jointly chair the House committee on the affairs of court, prosecutions and public independent agencies with Move Forward.
He said both parties would talk again on how to rotate the chairmanship, adding they could switch every year or hold the post for two years before switching.