Political Wrangling Puts Gov’t Action on Hold

A backlog of legislation stalled over the past year at the National As­sembly will have to wait a little longer, officials said last week.

The Assembly has not yet sched­uled its first working session because of administrative de­lays hampered by further political wrangling, officials said.

“No date is set for the meeting of the Permanent Committee be­cause political parties are busy,” Chan Ven, the Assembly’s deputy sec­retary-general, said Thursday.

The parliament cannot convene until its 12-member permanent committee has charted an agenda for the meeting, he said.

Several position changes must also be made, as lawmakers ap­pointed to lower-level government positions are required to give up their Assembly seats. Only senior ministers can keep both government and legislative positions, Chan Ven said. While the CPP has appointed re­place­ments for its 22 lawmakers entering the government, Funcin­pec has yet to do so, he said.

Funcinpec Deputy Secretary-General Ok Socheat said he anti­c­i­pated the royalists will submit their new list to the Assembly to­day. But the matter of creating the Assembly’s nine commissions, traditionally composed of all three main parties to examine and debate draft bills, has yet to be resolved.

Sam Rainsy Party officials said they may boycott the commissions, saying Funcinpec and the CPP unjustly deprived them of at least two commission chairmanship positions.

Earlier this month, the two parties announced the CPP will head five of the commissions and Funcinpec will lead four.

“At the moment, we are trying to negotiate so they won’t be able to rob us so blindly,” opposition spokesman Ung Bun-Ang said Fri­day. Ok Socheat, however, said Sam Rainsy was offered those chairmanship positions but “refused to accept.”

On Sunday, Prime Minister Hun Sen warned the opposition could be stripped of its 24 parliamentary seats altogether, if it fails to cooperate. “If Sam Rainsy doesn’t recognize the government, he should announce so publicly, so that the [National Election Committee] can divide his 24 seats among us and Funcinpec,” Hun Sen said.

(Ad­­ditional reporting by Yun Samean)


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