The National Assembly on Monday approved amendments to four laws on elections, which are related to the distribution of party seats if the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) is dissolved by the Supreme Court.
A total of 67 lawmakers from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) passed proposals to amend four laws on elections of the National Assembly and Senate as well as provincial, municipal, district and commune councils. The amendments relate to the distribution of seats if a party is dissolved.
All 55 lawmakers from the CNRP boycotted the session while half of them have fled overseas in fear of arrest in connection with a treason charge levelled against party leader Kem Sokha, who is now in jail awaiting trial and faces up to 30 years in jail if found guilty.
CNRP vice present Eng Chhai Eang has also fled the country and posted on Facebook that the four laws that the ruling CPP had passed cannot be implemented in the fifth mandate of the National Assembly “because it is opposite to the will of the people”.
He added that if the amendments divide the seats of the National Assembly and commune/sangkat councils if one political party is dissolved and the seats are distributed to other parties it is like “robbing people and receiving stolen goods”.
Yeam Yeap, one of the CPP lawmakers, said the amended four laws complied with the current political situation and that opposition CNRP leader Mr Sokha had committed a treasonous conspiracy with foreigners to break up the nation.
“I want to say that the amendments to the four laws are not intended to destroy any person or political parties,” Mr Yeap said during debates at the National Assembly.
Interior Minister Sar Keng confirmed on Friday that the CPP will not take the CNRP’s seats if it is dissolved. “The CPP will not take over the seats in parliament in the case that a political party is dissolved,” he said.