The national budget bill is set to start being debated in the House of Representatives today. The government and opposition whips met yesterday to determine the time frame for the debate, with the government insisting that it should be allotted more time if the opposition is given 20 additional hours.
Before the meeting between the government and opposition whips, the Chief Government Whip, Wirat Ratanaset, said each side will be given 15 hours for the debate. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana will each have two hours to present the budget bill, while the legislators will be given 35 hours in total.
On the possibility that the House debate will be extended, Wirat said it must be within the three-day period, from today to Saturday. If the opposition wants 20 more hours for the debate, the Chief Government Whip said the government will also demand 20 additional hours.
The government and its coalition parties have already divided the hours between them, while each small party may have less than 10 minutes to speak during the debate. The government whip will conduct a rehearsal tomorrow morning before the meeting convenes.
Wirat said the House of Representatives will debate the budget bill starting at noon today, as the military budget and transfers will be considered in the morning.
On Thursday, the House debate is expected to adjourn at 11 p.m. On Friday, the meeting will be from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. After the 23-hour session, the legislators will be given seven to eight additional hours for further debate, if necessary.