With the next National Assembly set to be sworn in today at a ceremony at the Royal Palace, the political opposition has come up with an alternate ceremony of its own that promises to be a decidedly less formal affair.
The Sam Rainsy Party and Human Rights Party have threatened since shortly after the July 27 national election to boycott the first session of the Assembly and the swearing in ceremony over alleged election irregularities.
SRP President Sam Rainsy said Tuesday that should King Norodom Sihamoni deny his request to hold a separate swearing-in ceremony for the opposition, the two parties would have their own ceremony at the Preah Angdongker shrine Friday.
Located on the riverbank in front of the Royal Palace, the small shrine is probably best recognized as an area brimming with lotus blossoms and sparrow merchants.
Sam Rainsy added that under the law there is no requirement that lawmakers be sworn in at the Palace in a ceremony presided over by the King.
“The Constitution is not strict; it is flexible,” Sam Rainsy said. “We are not concerned about the swearing-in ceremony.”
Even so, the SRP leader has written to King Sihamoni at least three times to request a separate Palace ceremony. To date the King has not given any firm reply, but he did forward the SRP an opinion against the idea from the Constitutional Council.
The HRP has also abandoned its previous plan to briefly attend the first meeting of the Assembly today, but to then walk out when King Sihamoni leaves the building. HRP board of directors member Keat Sokhun said the party would now stay away from the session entirely because they have become aware that the session schedule would require them to stay for the entirety of the plenary meeting.
“We will stick to the boycott,” he said.
CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said that if the opposition members are not sworn in properly, they will not be full-fledged lawmakers.
“Sam Rainsy and the Human Rights Party can call on motodops to swear along with them,” Cheam Yeap said with a laugh.
“In one country there are not two laws. They should not go into the National Assembly forever,” he added.