The National Assembly yesterday confirmed the identities of 44 new lawmakers due to be sworn in today in place of 55 former CNRP parliamentarians.
National Assembly president Heng Samrin said the parliament welcomed the 44 new lawmakers from the royalist party Funcinpec, the Cambodian Nationality Party and the Khmer Economic Development Party.
The 44 will recite oaths and be sworn into the parliament at 4pm today.
A total of 11 seats were turned down by the League for Democracy Party and Khmer Anti-Poverty Party.
All of these will be handed to the ruling CPP, which means their majority will jump from 68 to 79 seats. Who will take up those seats will be confirmed in the near future.
The National Assembly yesterday announced that Funcinpec leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh has become the new lawmaker for Kampong Cham province.
He told reporters at the parliament he was very happy his party members had become lawmakers.
“All of them must work hard as representatives in their provinces in order to win the next election,” Prince Ranariddh said.
He declined to comment on public criticism that his party’s members had no mandate to serve the people, after failing to win support at the polls.
“I don’t want to comment please,” he said. “We are happy with everything we have received and thank the president of the National Assembly.”
Prince Ranariddh said Funcinpec official You Hokry would replace Kem Sokha as first vice-president of the National Assembly, while Nuth Sokhom would be appointed vice-president of the National Election Committee.
Yoeung Sotheara, legal and monitoring officer at the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia, said there is little hope the minor political parties replacing the CNRP will be able to successfully challenge the ruling CPP.
“They don’t have a tendency to act as a prominent opposition,” Mr Sotheara said. “They can’t challenge big problems with the ruling CPP, but if the CPP gives them the green light, maybe they can resolve local issues for villagers.”
Huon Reach Chamroeun, president of the Khmer Economic Development Party, said his party received one seat in the National Assembly.
He said he is committed to his role as an opposition party in order to comply with the constitution.
“Our stance will remain the same, even if we only have one or two seats at the National Assembly,” he said. “We will fulfil our obligations as an opposition party in line with the constitution.”
“The Khmer Economic Development Party is steadfast and not partial. We are not antagonistic like the former opposition. We will not encourage strikes or demonstrations because these do not resolve issues for the nation,” he added.