CNRP Approves Agenda, Plan to Grill Ministers

The opposition CNRP’s steering committee on Tuesday unanimously adopted a draft platform to guide the party’s priorities ahead of upcoming elections and approved a plan to summon government ministers for questioning at the National Assembly.

“This document will become a historic document for the CNRP,” party spokesman Yim Sovann said at a press conference after the daylong meeting.

The manifesto was not made public. Mr. Sovann said the seven priorities outlined in the document were: respect for human rights, livelihoods with dignity; economic development with equity; national unity and territorial integrity; immigration; defense; and foreign affairs.

He said it would now be sent for approval to the party’s next congress, scheduled for next year.

Mr. Sovann also outlined a plan for the opposition to summon several ministers for questioning in parliament. He said opposition lawmakers would seek to question Interior Minister Sar Kheng over the investigation into the July murder of political analyst Kem Ley; Mines and Energy Minister Suy Sem over massive underreporting of sand exports to Singapore; and Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon over unspecified issues related to agriculture products.

Speaking at the opening of Tuesday’s steering committee meeting, acting CNRP President Kem Sokha told the attending party officials that as a mature political party the opposition must focus on communicating its policies for the future and not dwell on current problems.

“I do not want to see our leaders just raise the existing problems—I want to see our leaders at all levels show solutions to national issues and for our citizens’ problems through our policies,” he said.

Prince Sisowath Thomico, a prominent member of the steering committee, said last week that he planned to raise the issue of disunity within the CNRP and would leave the party if the issue was not addressed in the coming months. He has also openly called for opposition leader Sam Rainsy to return to the country despite a recent government directive banning him from coming back.

He said he did not raise either issue during Tuesday’s meeting.

“I wanted to raise it but it was not on the agenda before the meeting,” he said, adding that he would wait until after the funeral of CNRP lawmaker Pen Sovann, who died on Saturday, to continue pressing the issue.

(Additional reporting by Michael Dickison)

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