The controversial supplemental border agreement with Vietnam will be debated in a full session of the National Assembly on Friday before what lawmakers indicated could be a divided Parliament.
CPP legislators said they were prepared to vote in favor of the agreement, Sam Rainsy Party lawmakers said they could not accept it and Funcinpec parliamentarians said they would suspend their decisions until they learned more on Friday.
“I would vote for it because no territory was lost,” CPP lawmaker Mom Chimhuy said, calling claims that the agreement would reduce Cambodia’s territory an exaggeration.
Hou Sry, a CPP lawmaker, said he had been fully briefed and supports the treaty “100 percent,” adding that it does not conflict with Cambodian or international law.
If CPP parliamentarians vote along the party line, and just one other lawmaker appears to make a quorum, the agreement could pass without the need for a single Funcinpec or Sam Rainsy Party vote.
Still, Funcinpec lawmakers said they hoped Friday’s debate would resolve their concerns about the treaty.
Parliamentarians Ear Limsuor, Chhim Seak Leng and Khieu San all said that they had unanswered questions.
Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay said the agreement violates the Constitution and the Paris Peace Accords.
“According to what we know so far, we cannot accept it,” Son Chhay said, though he said opposition parliamentarians would appear at the session.
He noted that, as the Sam Rainsy Party had no members within the border commission, they were unable to get a full explanation of the agreement.
Son Chhay said a letter he received from Assembly President Prince Norodom Ranariddh gave him hope he would be allowed to form a three-party commission on the issue.
On Thursday, Prince Ranariddh wrote to Son Chhay noting that he had forwarded the commission request to the Assembly’s first deputy president, CPP legislator Heng Samrin.
“Sending my request to Samdech Heng Samrin means the prince supports it but needs to wait for a response from CPP,” Son Chhay said.