Government Says It Won’t ‘Bow’ to Rainsy Ultimatum

Mu Sochua not stepping down as SRP lawmaker

The government has said it will not give in to an ultimatum by opposition party President Sam Rainsy, who last week threatened to engineer a so-called constitutional crisis if Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling CPP did not start discussing state issues with the SRP by the end of this week.

Mr Rainsy said that he was willing to drop his plan to invalidate Parliament’s adoption of the 2012 national budget, by retiring his lawmakers to prevent a required quorum, if the government started communicating with his party.

Information Minister Khieu Kan­harith said the government does not respond to ultimatums.

“This is an ultimatum, not a re­quest for dialogue. We don’t bow to it,” Mr Kanharith said.

Responding to the minister, SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said the opposition would continue with its plan.

“In a democratic society, a dialogue between the opposition party and the ruling party is essential,” he said. “Our plan will go ahead.”

An SRP spokesman, Kimsour Phirith, said last week that the party would be retiring as many as six lawmakers, including Mu Sochua and Mr Sovann, in order to bring the National Assembly below its constitutionally required quorum of 120 members re­quired to pass laws. The SRP said that those re­tiring as lawmakers would then stand for positions in the forthcoming Senate election.

Ms Sochua, however, denied that she was stepping down from the National Assembly and running in the Senate, claiming that the news was just a “rumor.”

“I do not intend to run as a candidate for the senatorial election, nor do I intend to leave SRP to form a party,” she said. Ms Sochua declined to comment further other than to say that the list of retiring lawmakers had changed.

Mr Sovann, who is stepping down, confirmed that Ms Sochua had been removed from the list of those stepping down.

“She did not want to run. We respect her wish,” he said.


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