Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Funcinpec president and National Assembly President Prince Norodom Ranariddh share his party’s quota of seats on the Assembly’s nine commissions with the opposition party.
Hun Sen made the request in a letter to Prince Ranariddh on Feb 23 in which he stated that the new atmosphere of political cooperation dictated that the opposition party is included in the Assembly commissions, which review legislation and are charged with montoring the government.
“After strict discussion within the CPP leadership, I would like to inform the prince that, in order to reflect the result of the July election…and because of good developments in national reconciliation and the strengthening of the democratic process, the CPP leaders request to change the structure of the commissions,” Hun Sen wrote.
Hun Sen proposed that in each of the nine commissions, the nine members be comprised of five CPP representatives, two Funcinpec representatives and two Sam Rainsy representatives. Regarding the leadership of the nine commissions, five should have chairmen and deputy chairmen from the CPP, while the remaining four should be divided between Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party, Hun Sen said.
Opposition members lauded the proposal on Feb 23, while a Funcinpec lawmaker said it was a recipe for disaster.
“This is [Hun Sen’s] goodwill and it proves his commitment to compromise,” opposition Deputy President Kong Korm said.
Monh Saphann, Funcinpec lawmaker and chairman of the interior and national defense commission, said his party should not have to share seats with the opposition.
“Sharing will provoke internal disputes,” he said, adding that an alternative approach would be to add one new seat for the opposition to each commission.
CPP lawmaker and chairman of the finance and banking commission Cheam Yeap said that the inclusion of the opposition would help the commissions work more efficiently.
He also noted that the CPP had previously invited the opposition to join the commissions but the offer had been rejected.
Koul Panha, director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said that the Sam Rainy Party would make the commissions more effective, though he questioned why their posts should be given solely from the Funcinpec quota.