The Senate on Thursday unanimously approved Kun Lum Ang to take her jailed husband’s Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) seat in the chamber and added a new seat to the body to mirror a change in the lower house.
Ms. Lum Ang’s husband, Hong Sok Hour, resigned from the SRP to clear the way for his wife to take his seat after he was hit with a seven-year prison sentence in November for posting a fake Vietnam-Cambodia border treaty on Facebook.
Ms. Lum Ang must now be sworn in by the king before she can begin representing the five provinces that are part of her constituency, Senate President Say Chhum said on Thursday.
“We need to try our best to make good laws that benefit the people and the nation,” Ms. Lum Ang said later in the day, adding that the SRP, which fused with the Human Rights Party in 2012 to form the CNRP, had yet to decide whether she would take her husband’s perch as the head of the Senate’s anti-corruption commission.
Mr. Sok Hour is one of 17 jailed opposition party members deemed “political prisoners” by rights group Licadho, though the government denies any bias in their detentions.
The SRP is also considering finding a replacement for Thak Lany, an SRP senator who fled abroad and was in November convicted of incitement and defamation in the wake of comments she allegedly made linking Prime Minister Hun Sen to last year’s murder of political analyst Kem Ley.
The Senate, which was created as part of the solution to the 1998 political deadlock between the CPP and Funcinpec, can only offer suggestions on altering legislation, leading some critics to claim it is little more than a rubber stamp and an institutional relic.
The body nonetheless also unanimously approved adding a new seat to the chamber on Thursday to mirror two additional seats added to the National Assembly for Preah Sihanouk province.
The Senate made no changes to the bill passed by the lower chamber, according to a news release put out by the body, and did not debate Ms. Lum Ang’s appointment.