The Senate has agreed to once again extend its mandate for one year, since no law has yet been established to hold a Senate election, officials said Monday.
Senate Secretary-General Um Sarith said a letter has been drafted seeking King Norodom Sihamoni’s approval for the extension.
The Senate’s mandate, which is supposed to be five years long, was extended by one year in 2004.
In lieu of further extension, its mandate would expire March 25, 2005, and the 61 senators would be dismissed, said Sabu Bacha, chairman of the Senate’s commission on public works, transport, post and telecommunications, industry, energy and commerce.
“We have to extend it. If [the Senate] is not continued, it will be dissolved,” Sabu Bacha said.
Although the Constitution calls for the next term of the Senate to be determined by a “nonuniversal election,” since the Senate was established in 1999, no legislation has been passed to determine how the election would be conducted. Um Sarith, however, said that a draft law is in the works.
Opposition party Senator Kong Koam said he abstained from voting on the issue, saying it violates the Constitution.
Unable to block legislation, the Senate is widely criticized for doing little work. Interviewed last year, some senators acknowledged they had made few accomplishments since the Senate’s creation.