Three members of the Constitutional Council, including the council’s president, are in the process of being replaced as their nine-year terms come to an end next month, officials said Tuesday.
Council president Bin Chhin and members Chausen Cosal Chhum and Prom Nhean Vicheth will be replaced by June 15, council member Prak Sok said by telephone.
The nine-person council is the ultimate authority on the constitutionality of legislation as well as being the final arbiter of all election disputes. The National Assembly elects three members of the council, three are appointed by the Supreme Council of Magistracy and the final three are appointed by the King.
Prak Sok said that King Norodom Sihamoni will be responsible for choosing a replacement for 101-year-old Chausen Cosal Chhum, an appointee of retired King Norodom Sihanouk’s who was briefly prime minister in 1962.
National Assembly President and Honorary CPP President Heng Samrin said that it was the Assembly’s duty to replace Bin Chhin, whom the legislature had elected to the post in 1998.
The Assembly has placed advertisements in local Khmer-language papers soliciting applicants for the position. The deadline for applicants is June 8.
Heng Samrin said that so far only senior CPP lawmaker Ek Sam Ol, who chairs the Assembly’s Legislation Commission, has put himself forward as a candidate.
Justice Minister and Supreme Council of Magistracy member Ang Vong Vathana said candidates hoping to be selected by the Supreme Council have until May 25 to apply.
Prom Nhean Vicheth will stand for the position again because he had not yet served a full term, having been previously appointed by the Supreme Council to finish the term of a deceased member, he said.
Ek Sam Ol declined to speak with a reporter, and Prom Nhean Vicheth could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
SRP lawmaker Yim Sovann said that the members of the Constitutional Council are supposed to have no political affiliation, but most are chosen for their allegiance to the ruling CPP—the King’s appointees excepted.
(Additional reporting by John Maloy)