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Election law changes edge closer

Khuon Narim / Khmer Times Share:
Interior Minister Sar Kheng said the CPP will not take the CNRP’s seats if it is dissolved. KT/Mai Vireak

The National Assembly’s permanent committee will meet today to discuss changes to four elections laws, while Interior Minister Sar Kheng has confirmed the ruling CPP will not take the CNRP’s seats if it is dissolved.

The changes, requested by the CPP, relate to the distribution of party seats in the National Assembly and Senate, as well as provincial, municipal, district and commune councils.

Assembly spokesman Leng Penglong said the legislation will determine the redistribution of seats when a party is disbanded.

“The proposed amendments have been sent to the permanent committee for a decision,” he said.

Mr Kheng discussed the issue on Friday at a meeting about maintaining security and public order amid any attempt to topple the government.

“CPP will not take over seats in parliament in the case that a political party is dissolved,” he said. “We don’t know which party will take those seats. It could be Funcinpec or the League for Democracy Party.”

Sam Kuntheamy, executive director of elections watchdog NICFEC, said the ruling CPP should allow its most popular opponents to take part in next year’s polls.

“The election will not be free and fair if the CNRP is dissolved because the other opposition parties do not have the same support,” Mr Kuntheamy claimed but did not explain what constituted a free and fair election.

He cited the fact Funcinpec party did not even secure one commune chief position in June’s local elections. 

Leaked documents published on social media suggested how seats would be shared out in parliament if the CNRP were dissolved.

They suggested the CPP would remain at 68 seats, while Funcinpec would have 41, the League for Democracy Party six, the Khmer Anti-Poverty Party five, the Cambodian National Party two and the Khmer Economic Development Party one.

The Interior Ministry last week  filed a request to the Supreme Court to have the CNRP dissolved, following complaints filed against it by the Funcinpec Party and Cambodian Youth Party.

Supreme Court judge Sem Sakola last week ordered the CNRP president to submit a response to the case within 20 days.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said the CNRP would simply be replaced by five other opposition parties if it were disbanded.

“If one party is dissolved, then another five will replace them. So we would go from having two parties in the National Assembly to having six. It will happen soon,” he said.

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