Incoming, Outgoing Senators Meet at Ceremony

Outgoing and incoming Senate members met at a ceremony on Wednesday where medals of ac­comp­lishment were presented to the country’s first senatorial ap­pointments, whose mandate is slowly drawing to a close.

Though the newly elected Sen­ate has yet to be officially sworn in at the Royal Palace, the presentation of med­als signals the end of the current Senate, which was first appointed in 1999.

Officials said Thursday that the new Senate will be sworn in on March 20, despite competing claims by the ruling CPP and Fun­­cin­pec to the position of Sen­ate second vice presi­­dent.

In a letter dated Sunday, Fun­­­­­­cin­pec President Prince Noro­dom Ranariddh wrote to CPP presi­­dent and Senate president nominee Chea Sim, stating that ag­reements be­­tween the two parties allowed for royalist candidates to hold both the Sen­ate’s first and second vice president posi­tions.

Chea Sim responded that the CPP also had two candidates earmarked for the posts, which were theirs by virtue of the CPP’s Sen­ate election results.

“According to the protocol of co­operation between our two parties, and their qualifications, ability and ex­perience, in the name of Funcin­pec I propose [Prince Siso­wath Chi­van Monirak and Por Bun Sroeu]…for senatorial posts,” Prince Ranar­iddh wrote.

Chea Sim replied that he had been proposed by his party to take the Senate’s presidency again and that Tep Ngorn, the CPP’s chief of cabinet, would take the second vice presi­dent’s post.

“According to the result of the Sen­­­ate election on January 22, the CPP has prepared and sent two can­di­dates for president and second vice president of the Senate,” he wrote.

Outgoing Senate Secretary-Gen­­eral Oum Sarith said the presi­dent and deputy president will be voted in on the same day as the swearing-in ceremony.

“The two parties are still trying to com­promise,” he added.

In January’s election, the CPP won 45 Senate positions, Funcin­pec 10 and the opposition two.

Kong Korm, one of two opposition senators, said he was not in­terested in the presidency posts, add­­ing that the CPP has prom­ised to make him head of the Sen­ate’s commission for education, religion, culture and tour­ism.

“We are not ambitious,” he said.




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