Legislative Committee Approves Budget Draft

The government’s nearly $5 billion 2017 budget won unanimous ap­proval Friday from the Nation­al Assembly’s permanent committee, which sent it on for debate at the leg­islature’s plenary session on Tues­day.

The opposition party con­firmed last week that it would at­tend the session, its first since May.

“It’s a very important law for which we cannot skip the debate,” said Yem Ponhearith, a CNRP spokes­man.

CNRP Vice President Kem So­kha, who is appealing a five-month prison sentence, was ex­pect­ed to leave his refuge at the party headquarters to participate.

The 2017 budget includes a 35 percent increase in education spending and a 22 percent increase in funding for national defense.

Na­tional Assem­bly spokesman Leng Penglong said the committee also forwarded its approval of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which must be approved by the Na­tional Assem­bly before ratification by the government.

Cambodia would join 196 other countries and the E.U. bloc in approving the U.N. convention to curb global warming and mitigate the effects of climate change.

At a U.N. meeting on Thursday in Mar­ra­kech, Moroc­­co, the group urged the “highest political commitment” to combat­­ing climate change.

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