Assembly Vote Still Not Set

The National Assembly’s oldest member said Monday he has not decided when he will exercise his Constitutional privilege to call an Assembly meeting to elect the body’s president and deputy president, but anticipates the process will go smoothly.

“Before I invite them to attend the meeting, I have to prepare first, because it is not a game,” said CPP parliamentarian Chea Soth. “I want it to go ahead smoothly and easily.”

“Whether they will come or not I do not know,” he continued. “But I am the oldest man, and according to the Constitution I have the right to call them. I will wait and see on that day.”

He added that he needs five secretaries, which he will choose from the youngest Assembly mem­bers, as the Constitution requires. “The CPP has older parliamentarians. Only Funcinpec and Sam Rainsy have young parliamentarians,” he said.

Eng Chhay Eang, secretary-gen­eral of the Sam Rainsy Party, said his party would attend a meeting called by Chea Soth, but added that the subject of the meeting must be clear beforehand. “We will not vote for the president and deputy president of the Na­­tional Assembly if there is no negotiation first,” he said Mon­day. “That would not proceed smoothly.

“We will provide the CPP with a full quorum but will not vote for them. They will fail to select As­sembly leaders,” he said.

Kassie Neou, a spokesman for Fun­cinpec and the Alliance of Democrats, said attending the meeting was less important than electing leaders. He said that, if a power-sharing agreement is not reached by that time, Funcinpec will attend the meeting to vote out the CPP candidates.

A high-ranking Funcinpec official who spoke on condition of anon­ymity said party parliamentarians asked leader Prince Noro­dom Ranariddh to demand the pre­sidency of the body in re­sponse to concessions the party made following the 1993 national election.

He added that the Sam Rainsy Pa­rty “needs” the position of de­p­uty president. “If the CPP agrees to this request, the meeting will go smoothly,” he said Monday.


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