SRP President Sam Rainsy said Sunday that his party will be submitting a draft law to the National Assembly calling for a term limit of just one mandate for the position of prime minister.
Sam Rainsy said that, regardless of the reception the bill receives in Parliament, the SRP has all but officially decided that the one-term limit for a prime minister will be incorporated into the party’s internal regulations. He added that a meeting of the SRP permanent committee will be called this week to finalize the decision.
“We want to give opportunities for our well-educated younger generations. When only one person consolidates all the power, it means that person insults or looks down on other educated people,” Sam Rainsy said by telephone from Banteay Meanchey province. “One term should be enough for the prime minister.”
Information Minister and government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said that the SRP’s idea is not supported by the ruling CPP. The current process for selecting the prime minister is a democratic one, he said, adding that frequent changes in the premiership could lead to instability.
“Changing the leader would be a problem,” he said.
This planned draft law and internal reform comes after months of criticism by the newly-formed Human Rights Party. Officially launched in July, the HRP has touted its policy of a two-term limit for both the prime minister and the party president—abeling the SRP as “undemocratic” for not sharing these ideas.
“The SRP has followed our platform because they want to gain popularity,” said Keo Remy, HRP deputy president. “I am not concerned about losing [our] popularity,” he added.
Sam Rainsy denied that the specter of the HRP co-opting SRP voters had anything to do with his party’s decision, noting that the SRP presented—unsuccessfully—a draft law in 2003 calling for a limit of two terms for the premier.
Kek Galabru, president of local rights group Licadho, said that she supported the SRP’s idea, but felt it unlikely to make much headway.
“The countries that respect democracy, they don’t allow leaders to stay longer,” she said. “Our country is very difficult, because it is difficult to get approval from the National Assembly.”