Opposition leader Sam Rainsy has asked the National Assembly to resubmit his party’s candidate for membership on the National Election Committee.
The Sam Rainsy Party candidate, Kuoy Bunroeun, was rejected by the National Assembly last month, falling 20 votes short of the 62 needed for a seat on the committee.
The Sam Rainsy Party is not yet represented on the committee, although Cambodian law requires that any party with a seat in the National Assembly must also have representation on the NEC. The NEC will oversee the country’s first commune elections in February 2002.
The Sam Rainsy Party faxed the request to National Assembly President Prince Norodom Ranariddh, and had not received a response as of Sunday, said Sam Rainsy Party Cabinet Chief Phi Thach. He said the Sam Rainsy Party would follow up with a formal letter of request to the Prince today. Phi Thach said he was optimistic that Prince Ranariddh would grant the party’s request.
“As the speaker he has the duty to submit candidates to the National Assembly,” he said.
The assembly’s rejection of Kuoy Bunroeun last month came as a surprise to the party, Phi Thach said. Prime Minister Hun Sen had given his approval to Kuoy Bunroeun’s candidacy for the NEC in a letter to Prince Ranariddh prior to the vote. Hun Sen later suggested that Sam Rainsy undercut his candidate by criticizing the committee shortly before the Assembly vote.
Phi Thach noted that the opposition party does not require anyone’s approval to place a representative on the NEC.
“We can’t understand why the CPP had no good will to approve the SRP’s role in the election,” Phi Thach said. “We feel regret that the CPP has no good intentions to implement the constitution.”
Election monitors criticized the NEC during the 1998 elections, claiming the committee unfairly favored the CPP.