Reconciliation Committee’s first meeting unlikely to take place this year

The first meeting of the parliament’s reconciliation committee is unlikely to take place before the end of this year, the government said on Friday.

Chuan Leekpai, the President of the National Assembly of Thailand, said he was “unsure” whether the first meeting will take place in December as some related parties who agreed to join have yet to announce their representatives at the committee.

The House Speaker said in November that the 21 members of the committee could include:

  1. Two representatives from the protest group that disagree with the government
  2. Two representatives from the government
  3. Two MPs from the coalition
  4. Two MPs from the opposition   
  5. Two senators
  6. Two representatives from the protest group that agree with the government
  7. Nine experts including five academics and four other experts on reconciliation processes

So far, six opposition parties, including the Pheu Thai Party and Move Forward Party, have turned down the parliament’s invitation.

Pro-reform protest leaders from the main student-led pro-democracy group, Ratsadon, have also turned down the invitation.

Active groups that support the government and the royal institution such as Thai Pakdee, have yet to announce its intentions.

The government’s initial proposals for Suporn “Rambo Isaan” Atthawong, the vice minister at the PM’s Office, and Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, a secretary to PM’s Office Minister, to be the representatives from the government was met with heavy criticism – as both of them are seen as divisive figures.

This led the cabinet to propose for General Chaicharn Changmongkol, the Deputy Defence Minister and Therdpong Chaiyanan, Democrat Party’s party-list MP, to be on the panel instead.

Chuan said it does not matter which side will be more predominant nor the number of representatives in the committee, as this is about brainstorming for solutions to fix the current political impasses together.

Sutin Klungsang, the chief opposition whip, said earlier this week that the six opposition parties are still maintaining their stance.

This led the House Speaker to meet with Sompong Amornwiwat, the head of Pheu Thai and the opposition leader, to discuss on the matter on Thursday.

Chuan is also scheduled to meet with other members of the opposition parties on December 22, to ask them to reconsider their decision in not joining the committee.

Both Sutin and Sompoong said this month that there is no point for the opposition parties to join the parliament’s reconciliation penal since the protest leaders are not joining and that the committee’s structure is “biased”.

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