Thailand’s ruling party seeks consensus amid dispute over House committee leadership

Thailand's Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin leaves after he prayed at Brahma statue for good luck at the government house in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, September 6. Picture courtesy of AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit.

A dispute over who should preside over various House committees in Thailand prompted an invitation for a meeting this week, issued by the whip of the ruling Pheu Thai Party. The aim is to reconcile the differing views.

Wisut Chainarun, a Pheu Thai list-MP and party whip, revealed that out of the 35 House committees, multiple parties are vying for the leadership of six panels.

The gathering is intended to foster consensus among parties targeting the same positions.

The Move Forward Party (MFP) is particularly insistent on heading 11 House committees. As the most sizable party with 151 MPs, MFP was allocated a quota to chair 11 committees.

However, after an MP from a constituency stepped down due to revelations concerning his criminal history, necessitating a by-election in Rayong this Sunday, the party’s MP count dropped to 150. This resulted in a decrease in MFP’s quota to 10.

Despite this setback, the party remains optimistic about retaining the Rayong seat and maintains that it will ultimately receive 11 chairmanships.

Wisut indicated that discussions concerning the chair positions will take place this week, ahead of the by-election.

He also highlighted the MFP’s refusal to concede on the quota issue. The party, vowing to act as a “proactive” opposition force, asserts that presiding over the House committees is crucial for holding the government accountable.

Six House committees are at the centre of a power struggle involving the MFP: law, justice and human rights; power distribution and local and special administrations; labour; counter-corruption; transport; and budget accountability.

The MFP and the Prachachat Party are embroiled in a disagreement over the leadership of the law committee. Additionally, the MFP is having disputes with the Bhumjaithai Party over the power distribution and labour committees and is engaged in a conflict with Pheu Thai over the counter-corruption, transport, and budget accountability committees, reported Bangkok Post.

Wisut noted the MFP’s firm belief in the essential role of committee chairs in scrutinising the government’s performance. He shared his unsuccessful attempts to persuade the party that committee members, who are also authorised to summon individuals for testimony and review documents, can perform their duties just as effectively. He said…

“I think a compromise is in order.”

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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