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CPP brass to vacate NA seats

Party announces departure of ministers from the assembly

CAMBODIAN People's Party lawmakers who hold both government posts and seats in the National Assembly will resign their parliamentary positions and concentrate on their ministerial responsibilities, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced Thursday.

"If we keep them in two positions it will be difficult for them to stand with one leg in the National Assembly and the other one in the government," Hun Sen said during a speech to scholarship students at the National Institute of Education.

"I have already signed off on [a letter] to the National Election Committee (NEC) regarding the replacements."

Hun Sen named the resigned parliamentarians as Minister of Rural Development Chea Sophara, Minister of Information and government spokesman Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Im Sethy, Minister of Environment Mok Mareth, and Minister of Social Affairs Ith Sam Heng.

NEC Secretary General Tep Nytha said that he had not yet received a formal letter from Hun Sen outlining the resignations.

Nguon Nhel, the first deputy president of the National Assembly, said that a total of 40 CPP parliamentarians holding dual positions or being considered for fresh government posts were in line to be replaced.

"Such replacements are the strategy of Hun Sen," he told the Post Thursday. "We have already approved the names of the candidates." However, he could not reveal how many ministers were on this list.

Kek Galabru, president of local rights group Licadho, said that according to the Constitutional Council's law, the legislative, executive and judicial institutions had to be separated in a properly functioning democracy, and that government officials should not simultaneously hold parliamentary seats.

"It is a conflict of interest when they hold two positions at the same time," she said. "All officials who have government positions should resign their parliamentary seats."

The three HRP parliamentarians who boycotted the September 24 swearing-in of the new Assembly will have the chance to be sworn-in in a separate session with the replacement CPP parliamentarians.    

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