The National Assembly yesterday passed an amendment to the law on municipality, provincial and district council elections to increase the number of council seats.
More than 100 lawmakers passed the amendment.
Senior lawmaker Cheam Cheap, one of the 92 lawmakers who requested the amendment, said that the law on administrative management of the municipality, provincial and district elections was adopted in 2008 with a fewer number of council seats.
“This law was effective for ten years, but the population has increased to 16,300,000, and we are in need of improved public services and development,” Mr Yeap said.
Mr Yeap said that the number of councillors in Phnom Penh needs to increase from 21 persons to 27, and councillors in each province need to be increased from 15 to 27 persons, while councillors in each district need to be increased from 11 to 21 persons.
There are 393 seats in Phnom Penh and the 24 provinces, and 2,931 seats for all districts.
The third election for provincial and district council members is scheduled to take place on May 26 and all 11,572 current commune councillors will vote.
Speaking to reporters after an adoption of the amendment, Interior Minister Sar Kheng said that the amendment was vital because of an increase of population in Phnom Penh, each province and in each district.
He added that it was in compliance with the implementation of the decentralisation policy.
“We intend to transfer power through decentralisation, especially transfer of power, budget and human resources to sub-national level administrations,” Mr Kheng said. “We want the administrations close to the people to have right to do their work to serve the people.”
Sam Kuntheamy, executive director of Nicfec, said the number of the councillors should not be increased because there are plenty already.
“I think that the government should not increase the number of councillors because now we have enough councillors who can serve the people,” Mr Kuntheamy said.
He said that the increase of councillors could take away more money from the national budget.
“We should keep the national budget and increase spending on commune development rather than an increase of councillors,” he said.