Assembly To Convene to Amend Constitution

The new National Assembly will convene its first working session “soon” to amend the Con­stitution, allowing the Assembly to simultaneously ratify new government and parliamentary positions, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Saturday.

Hun Sen said he will ask Ass­embly Dean Chea Soth to call a parliamentary session, but he did not specify a date. “We have spent 10 months [forming a new government]. We cannot delay anymore,” he  told report­ers at the Council of Ministers.

Though the Assembly has traditionally approved of parliament posts before ratifying new government positions, Hun Sen and Fun­cin­pec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh agreed last week to hold a “package vote,” in which all positions would be ratified at the same time.

To do so, the As­sem­bly must add an article to the Con­stitution, which will re­quire ap­proval from the Senate and Con­sti­tutional Council, Hun Sen said.

Hun Sen said he and the prince agreed to a package vote because they had discovered a “traitor group” bent on thwarting their plans for a new coalition government and destroying the relationship between CPP and Funcin­pec.

“We agreed…after we found out the secret of the traitors,” Hun Sen said, without elaborating.

Funcinpec Secretary-General Prince Norodom Sirivudh de­clined to comment on Hun Sen’s statements Sunday.

Funcinpec will submit its power-sharing proposal to the CPP today, asking for co-minister positions in the Ministries of Defense and Interior and the Council of Ministers, Prince Siri­vudh said. He would not elaborate on the proposal, but said  the two sides were “very far” in their talks.

Also Saturday, Hun Sen said the CPP will not send representatives to North Korea for Queen Nor­o­dom Monineath’s 68th birth­day on June 18 in order to save money.

Instead, he said, government officials will visit the countryside and plant rice in her honor.

Prince Sirivudh and opposition leader Sam Rainsy are ex­pected to visit the King and the Queen next week at their residence in Pyong­yang.


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