SRP and Human Rights Party lawmakers may refuse to accept any positions on the National Assembly’s nine committees after being denied committee leadership posts, which are now occupied entirely by ruling CPP members.
In the previous government, SRP lawmakers Yim Sovann and Son Chhay headed the Interior and Foreign Affairs committees, respectively, but in September, the Assembly’s 123 parliamentarians elected CPP officials to be chairman and deputy chairman of all the committees.
The SRP and HRP announced Thursday, on the eve of today’s Assembly meeting to finalize the committees’ makeup, that they won’t be participating.
SRP Deputy Secretary-General Mu Sochua and Yim Sovann wrote to Assembly President Heng Samrin on Wednesday, saying that they resent being left out of the Assembly leadership.
“The SRP has received 26 seats inside the Assembly,” Mu Sochua said by telephone Thursday, adding that the current committee leadership is not reflective of the Assembly’s makeup. “The current Assembly committee composition does not reflect democratic principle,” she said.
The Assembly is made up of 90 CPP lawmakers, 26 SRP lawmakers, three from the HRP and two each from the NRP and Funcinpec.
HRP Secretary-General and newly elected lawmaker Yem Ponhearith said that his party has also refused to accept any committee member positions. The HRP, he added, is working to amend the Assembly’s internal regulations to ensure that HRP lawmakers’ voices are heard.
Three HRP lawmakers were sworn into the National Assembly in a Thursday ceremony at the Royal Palace, after having boycotted a swearing-in ceremony Sept 24.
CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said Thursday that the SRP and HRP lawmakers have the right not to participate in the committees, but the Assembly will proceed today in finalizing the committees’ membership.
“CPP has 90 seats. SRP should beg to talk with us,” he said.
“We don’t have to talk with them. If they don’t send their names, they will be simple lawmakers,” Cheam Yeap added.