The National Assembly returns to session this morning knowing at some point it will have to wrestle with three of the most important pieces of legislation to go through the parliament.
The drafts of the land law and commune election law and the law on how to try former Khmer Rouge leaders are still waiting to be considered by the full Assembly. But none of those critical issues are at the top of the agenda. Instead, legislators returning from a three-month recess will resume what has become a long debate on the structure of laws governing the production and distribution of electricity.
The Assembly’s permanent committee met this past weekend and charted the agenda for several bills that are bound to be less controversial than the three issues being most closely watched by the international community.
After electricity, the Assembly plans to debate such issues as the selection of three internal auditors to examine government spending, a law on international investment mediation and a government agreement to cover any financial losses a Chinese company developing the Kirirom Dam power project might suffer.
Chan Ven, deputy general secretary of the National Assembly, said there were no dates yet for debate on the drafts of the land law, commune elections law and Khmer Rouge trial legislation.
The commune elections are the most time-sensitive issue. Even after agreement is reached, to set up the elections nationwide will take months; the 2001 target date appears in jeopardy. The session is scheduled to last three months with recesses for King Norodom Sihanouk’s birthday this month and the Water Festival in November.