Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday met with representatives of various political parties that contested the national election to forge the Supreme Consultative Council, a forum he initiated to gather input from opposition parties to move the nation forward.
Representatives of sixteen out of 20 political parties that contested the election yesterday attended the first consultation forum with the government.
The council, composed of two representatives of each political party, will produce ideas that bring positive national development and will be tasked with giving feedback on draft laws, said government spokesman Phay Siphan.
Mr Siphan said that the council will be able to submit petitions to the Senate over draft laws passed by the National Assembly.
Mr Siphan said that the council will also provide comments to the Prime Minister over injustice, or abuse by officials.
Each political party had to nominate two representatives to be council members with the approval of the Prime Minister, said Chhim Phal Virun, an advisor to Mr Hun Sen.
“For example, the president of each party will be selected as council members and will be appointed as senior minister and they will receive a monthly salary under the Council of Ministers,” Mr Phal Virun said. “All these political party officials will be given additional positions as advisers to the government to facilitate their activities with their own political work.”
Mr Phal Virun said joining the council was voluntary.
The president of the council is elected to carry out a one-month task with a monthly rotation based on each party’s ballot slot positions of the National Election Committee.
The meeting between the council and the Prime Minister is set for every six months, or by an urgent call made by the Prime Minister.
Khmer Will Party president Kong Monika said he was satisfied with the initiative, but doubted its power and independence.
“I actually do not care about roles equivalent to senior ministers and ministers. I believe the council is a good start for all political parties to offer their input and comments on government policy,” Mr Monika said. “I will observe this council’s performance to see how well it serves the nation and I am not sure if it’s fully independent or under the government’s command.”
Cambodian Youth Party president Pich Sros said the CYP will remain an opposition party to observe the government’s performance.
“The establishment of the council does not mean that all political parties are combined into one under the ruling CPP,” Mr Sros said. “It is an initiative that brings us together for national development.”
The League for Democracy Party, Grassroots Democratic Party, Our Motherland Party, and the Khmer Anti-poverty Party did not attend the forum yesterday.