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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Dual citizenship to go before National Assembly

Dual citizenship to go before National Assembly

THE National Assembly will soon be asked to debate the banning of dual citizenships

for politicians, according to several members of parliament.

The controversial call has been a key issue pitting the Govern-ment's coalition partners

against each other. The Cambodian Peoples Party (CPP) is driving the change; while

Funcinpec - which has many of its MPs enjoying dual citizenship - has fought against

it.

Vann Vuth, a CPP MP who sits on the Commission of Interior, National Defense and

Investigation, said that the provision banning dual citizenship was proposed by the

commission in April.

Commission members denied that they had voted to insert the provision into the draft

law. But they did say that it had been written out on a separate piece of paper and

distributed to all MPs for discussion in a full session of the Assembly sometime

in the near future.

Por Bun Sreu, a Funcinpec MP and the commission's deputy chairman, expressed his

opposition to amending the draft law - which does not at present contain any ban

on dual citizenship.

"The cabinet approved the bill and we have no right to change it. I stand on

the draft of the Royal Government and I can not do more than this," he said.

The commission is made up of four CPP and four Funcinpec members, and one from the

BLDP. It was due to meet again the day after the Post went to press.

On his return from abroad May 13, Funcinpec leader Prince Ranariddh - who holds both

French and Cambodian citizenships - said that he would not alter his position toward

the government's draft.

In a speech last month, CPP leader Hun Sen challenged holders of two passports to

relinquish one if they were real patriots.

"We must dare to take responsibility, to live and die with the people. In a

position as a Khmer minister or parliamentarian, holding American passport... is

down-grading for the nation," Hun Sen said on April 27.

However, Bun Sreu argued that being a patriot did not depend on one or two nationalities,

but on an individual's conscience.

When asked if he objected to dual citizenship ban, he replied: "It is very comfortable

to be an MP here. Where can I run to? Do you think it is easy to live in another

country?"

He said that he already bought a piece of land in Kompong Speu to make his own grave.

Funcinpec's Ahmad Yahya, who is also a US citizen, considered quitting politics to

do humanitarian work if, after its adoption, the nationality law goes into effect

immediately with the new clause.

CPP's MP Vann Vuth said: "I think one nationality is better because dual nationality

reflects [an] unclear political position. People will look at that in the election

[in 1998]."

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