CPP Congress Gives Thumbs Up to Coalition

At the conclusion of its two-day party congress on Saturday, the CPP announced it will continue to seek a coalition government with Fun­cinpec after the 2008 election and declared its intent to hold a first-ever Senate election in 2006.

“Because we want national stability, the CPP has no intention of walking away from Funcinpec,” Prime Minister Hun Sen told re­porters after the congress at the par­ty’s Phnom Penh headquarters.

He added that he and Fun­cin­pec President Prince Noro­dom Rana­riddh will soon discuss plans to organize a Senate election for 2006.

For the second year in a row, the Senate agreed last week to extend its five-year mandate by one year, because, since its creation in 1998, no legislation has ever been passed to determine how a new mandate of senators should be selected.

Hun Sen did not elaborate on how the Senate election process would work, nor who would be eligible to vote or run for posts in the legislative body.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said Sunday that if a Senate election were held, politically independent individuals, such as rights group leaders, should be allowed to run as candidates.

“The Senate currently is just a joke institute,” he said, referring to the Senate’s reputation for doing little work.

During the CPP congress, the ruling party also selected eight new members for the CPP’s permanent committee—Chea Chan­to, Uk Rabun, Cheam Yeap, Ek Sam Ol, Som Kimsuor, Khuon So­dary, Penh Panha, and Chhay Thorn, according to a statement.

CPP spokesman Khieu Kan­ha­rith said Sunday that the new mem­bers will be in charge of dealing with the CPP’s internal legislation and financial affairs.


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