King Appoints New Senators Appointed

King Norodom Sihanouk ap­pointed three new senators Wed­nes­day to replace the recently expelled CPP officials who were kicked out of the Senate last week for failing to follow the party line.

The appointment, which was faxed by the King from Beijing on Dec 12, was also approved by Chea Sim, the interim head of state while the King is away.

The three newly-appointed senators includes Som Sopha, former CPP parliament candidate in the 1993 first-term government, who replaces Pov Sovath; Um Sarith, deputy governor of Stung Treng province who replaces Chhang Song; and Lak Oun, central committee member of the CPP, who replaces Phay Siphan.

Although the appointments are effective from the date of the signatures, the three incoming senators will wait for an announcement by the Senate president next week before assuming office, said Oum Sarith, Senate secretary general.

“We have no need for a quorum in the Senate for approval because the Constitution stipulates that the senators be appointed by the King,” he said.

The three ousted senators collected their belongings and vacated their offices on Wednesday, Oum Sarith said. Earlier, two of the three senators said they did not understand why they were fired while the third said he was fired for being too outspoken.

Oum Sarith said all three had been purged because they did  not follow the party line when they opposed revisions to the penal code that would allow police to detain suspects for 72 instead of 48 hours.

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