Chheang Vun Says Rainsy Will Be Allowed Lawmaker Position

CPP lawmaker Chheang Vun on Friday said the door was open for opposition party president Sam Rainsy to become a lawmaker during the government’s fifth mandate, even though his parliamentary immunity has not yet been restored and he was not a candidate in last month’s national election.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference held at the National Assembly, Mr. Vun said Mr. Rainsy would be allowed to stand as a lawmaker after the next registration period for lawmakers opens in October and if another CNRP lawmaker agrees to resign in his place.

“Of course His Excellency [Sam Rainsy] can be a member of the National Assembly in the fifth mandate through the Law on the Election of Members of the National Assembly,” he said, referring to the recently amended Article 118 of the law.

Mr. Rainsy was not a candidate in the July 28 election because he was a convicted criminal at the time the party’s candidate list was submitted to the National Election Committee. But if one of the CNRP’s current elected National Assembly members resigns, along with all of its reserve candidates in a given constituency, Mr. Rainsy can take a seat in Parliament.

“After registration, his party’s candidates—both full candidates and reserve candidates—must all resign if they want His Excellency Sam Rainsy to appear on the candidate list,” Mr. Vun said.

Mr. Vun’s remarks came after senior CPP lawmaker and de facto party spokesman Cheam Yeap said last week that Mr. Rainsy had “no chance” of working as a lawmaker at the Na­tional Assembly in the fifth mandate.

Mr. Vun added that any decision to re-instate Mr. Rainsy as a lawmaker would not be a matter of compromise between the ruling CPP and CNRP, since there are already provisions in the law for such an eventuality.

Also Friday, Mr. Vun welcomed a decision made earlier in the day by the Constitutional Council of Cambodia to open sealed election documents showing the number of votes cast at each polling station. The CNRP has said the sealed documents must be consulted for a credible investigation into irregularities to go ahead.

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