HONG Kong's two largest political parties were yesterday accused of sharing out the chairmanships of the Legislative Council's major panels among themselves. The United Democrats of Hong Kong (UDHK) and the Liberal Party are understood to have reached a consensus on some of the chairmanships before formal elections started this month. The move has angered independent legislator Timothy Ha Wing-ho and Meeting Point legislator Zachary Wong Wai-yin, who want to stand as chairman of the education panel and deputy chairman of the transport panel, respectively. The two parties had agreed that Henry Tang Ying-yen of the Liberal Party and United Democrat Fung Chi-wood should take these two posts. However, the UDHK withdrew its support for Mr Tang and voted for Mr Ha instead, resulting in Mr Ha winning the chairman's post and Mr Tang the deputy's. The change of decision by the UDHK angered the Liberal Party, which reacted by allowing a free vote in the transport panel, allowing Zachary Wong Wai-yin to become deputy chairman. Mr Ha, Legco's education sector representative, said he knew the two parties had reached a deal a few days before the election, which he thought was unhealthy because it might deprive able independent members of the chance of getting the post. ''I think for a panel as innocent and neutral as the education panel, political rivalry should be kept to a minimum,'' he said. ''But in the eyes of the parties, it is just a bargaining chip as part of the whole deal and it is unfortunate the education panel was the victim. ''The whole thing is undesirable but it can be understood. It's a political reality,'' he said. Meeting Point's Fred Li Wah-ming said the deal was driven by the two parties wanting to improve the chances for publicity for some second-line legislators.