Cambodia's Ruling Party Fills All Parliamentary Commissions

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cambodia-hun-sen-parliament-sept-2013.jpg Hun Sen (front L) sits in the National Assembly in Phnom Penh, Sept. 24, 2013.

Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government moved Thursday to fill all parliamentary commissions with ruling party members as the opposition continued to boycott the legislature and stepped up calls for international intervention to resolve the country political crisis following disputed elections.

The appointments to the nine commissions were made in a unanimous parliamentary vote by ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) lawmakers in the absence of any opposition members.

The government action to fill the powerful positions in the nine panels came two weeks after the CPP-controlled parliament reappointed Hun Sen prime minister and endorsed his cabinet.

The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) has boycotted parliament since it convened for the first time last month after July 28 elections.

The CNRP refused to recognize the election victory of the CPP, which according to official results won 68 parliamentary seats to the CNRP’s 55, charging that the polls were tainted by fraud and other irregularities.

Thursday’s parliament meeting was not attended by Prime Minister Hun Sen, Cabinet Minister Sok An, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong, all of whom were in Brunei attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.

Khmer Rouge

CNRP President Sam Rainsy, who is in Europe on a trip to drum up support for U.N. and foreign intervention in the dispute over election results, said that the new appointments, like the ones last month, were an echo of Cambodia’s totalitarian past under the communist Khmer Rouge regime.

“The CPP is leading Cambodia in the same way as the communist style,” he told RFA’s Khmer Service.  

“There is only one party in the government and in the National Assembly, and that’s a sign of communism,” he said.  

Cheam Yeap, a senior CPP member and chair of the parliamentary Finance Commission, said the ruling party was acting according to the law in appointing commission members.

Senior CPP member and National Assembly Finance Commission chairman Cheam Yeap sits in his office in Phnom Penh, Oct. 10, 2013. Photo credit: RFA.
Senior CPP member and National Assembly Finance Commission chairman Cheam Yeap sits in his office in Phnom Penh, Oct. 10, 2013. Photo credit: RFA.

He lambasted Sam Rainsy for calling for foreign intervention in Cambodia’s domestic affairs.

At one point, the angry Cheam Yeap said he hoped misfortune would befall the opposition politician.

“When Sam Rainsy touches Cambodian soil, he provokes chaos,” he said. “I hope his plane crashes and he dies.”

Cambodia could not be cowed by any pressure from the U.S. or European countries Sam Rainy is visiting, he said.

There were other countries Cambodia could turn to if any of those countries tried to impose any sanctions, he said.

Thumbprint campaign

The CNRP is waging a campaign to gather millions of thumbprints for a petition calling on the U.N. and other countries to strip Cambodia of its seat at the world body.

The CNRP has also called for a U.N.-backed probe into the elections.

Sam Rainsy met this week in the U.K. and France with EU foreign affairs committee chair Elmar Brok and other politicians, and will travel to meet with EU lawmakers in Belgium before heading to New York and Washington.

Sam Rainsy said that during his meetings he had told officials that Hun Sen’s government and the CPP-controlled parliament were unconstitutional and that many of them supported the view.

“They now are aware of … that the assembly and the government are illegal,” he said.

“Those officials look down on the illegal government.”

Reported by RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Samean Yun. Written in English by Rachel Vandenbrink.


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