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Lawmakers take royal oath

Khuon Narim / Khmer Times Share:
The majority of the new 44 lawmakers sworn in yesterday are from the royalist party Funcinpec. KT/Chor Sokunthea

New lawmakers from three minor political parties were sworn in yesterday to replace 44 of 55 former CNRP parliamentarians in the National Assembly.

The 44 lawmakers from the royalist party Funcinpec, the Cambodian Nationality Party and the Khmer Economic Development Party took their oaths in front of King Norodom Sihamoni at the Royal Palace.

National Assembly spokesman Leng Penglong said the parliament had already prepared workspaces for them.

“After being sworn in they can to go to work tomorrow,” he said.

The Supreme Court dissolved the opposition CNRP on treason charges earlier this month, banning 118 senior members from politics for five years.

Preap Kol, executive director of Transparency International Cambodia, posted on his Facebook page to say he would not personally recognise the new lawmakers since they were unelected by the people.

“I Preap Kol want to exercise my private right and the right of the Khmer people based on chapter 7, article 76 of the constitution,” he said. “I do not recognise 55 replacement lawmakers that aren’t directly elected from the people or through political parties voted in as my representative.”

According to article 76 of the constitution, the National Assembly shall consist of at least 120 members. The members shall be elected by a free, universal, equal and secret ballot.

However, Funcinpec leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh rejected Mr Kol’s criticism.

“It’s his right to not recognise us but I must fulfil my duty in front of the King,” Prince Ranariddh said before going to the Royal Palace to take his oath.

Seng Sokheng, president of the Cambodian Nationality Party, dismissed Mr Kol’s claims as contrary to Cambodian law.

“What we are now doing now is following the rule of law and the decision made by the Supreme Court, so it is Mr Kol who is against Cambodian law,” Mr Sokheng said.

“We are taking part in the National Assembly to strengthen democracy,” he added, saying his party will join every parliament session in order to serve the nation and ensure political stability.

CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said the National Election Committee is preparing a list of who will take up 11 remaining seats turned down by the League for Democracy Party and the Ant-Khmer Poverty Party.

Mr Eysan also said Mr Kol is just expressing a personal opinion.

“He is executive director of Transparency International Cambodia, which has not recognised the legitimate government since the 2013 election,” he said. “But we still survive because 14 million Cambodian people accept us.”

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