HE National Assembly's third session finally got underway on May 16 after a
deal struck between the Co-Premiers removed from the top of the agenda debate
about the admissions of CPP strongmen Sing Song and Prince Norodom Chakrapong
into the Assembly.
The Assembly had been paralysed for three weeks, and
unable to consider vital legislation on the economy and social issues, because
of a bitter conflict between the CPP and its coalition partners over the two
The pair declined to take their seats in the Assembly after last
year's elections and instead led a failed succession attempt in seven eastern
Funcinpec has been strongly against their re-inclusion in the
Assembly arguing it went against Untac electoral law. But the CPP stood by the
men. The deadlock finally ended after a meeting between Co-Premiers Prince
Norodom Ranariddh and Hun Sen and National Assembly Chairman, Chea Sim, on May
12. They agreed to put the issue to the bottom of the present agenda. It is now
unclear when it will be resolved.
On May 16 the Assembly discussed the
government's economic plan for 1994-95, which had been presented earlier at the
Icorc in Tokyo.
The plan was approved but discussion on the press law,
listed next on the agenda, was deferred due to protests about some provisions.
As the Post went to press the Assembly was discussing the draft law on
urbanization and construction. Discussion on the appointment of General Sin Sen
and General Kieng Vang as Secretaries of State to the Interior Ministry was next
on the agenda.
The last item on the agenda is the induction of the 19
new Assembly members including Chakrapong and Sin Song.
Assembly could theoretically go on with its work indefinitely it is now unclear
when this issue will be properly resolved.
"It seems as if Funcinpec
will give in to CPP pressure on the issue," said one BLDP MP.
foreign observers and legislators who are against their re-induction say that if
Funcinpec does buckle under and allow the two to be re-inducted, it will set a
bad precedent and also diminish the party's political weight.
legislation on investment and immigration are said to be near completion, but
they have not yet been listed on the current agenda.
laws on labor, nationality and criminal procedures are also needed, but it is
still unclear what stage of preparation they are at and whether they can come up
for discussion during this session.
Earlier, there was also controversy
over a draft supreme council of magistracy law, to set up a council which would
deal with the organization and functioning of the judiciary.
against the fact that the Minister of Justice in his draft had put himself on
what should have been an independent judicial council, some members of
parliament had prepared an alternative draft law.
Discussion on this
issue has also been deferred in an effort to find a compromise acceptable to all
With the King expected to return to Beijing on May 18
the fate of the proposed government-Khmer Rouge peace talks and the proposed
bill outlawing the KR remain uncertain.
In a bid to make the King defer
his Beijing trip, some legislators from Funcinpec and BLDP signed a petition
giving him the power to personally deal with the KR issue, and assuring him of
their full support. No impact on the King's departure plans was noted at press
An initiative by some MPs to question the co-defence ministers on
the floor of the house about the military debacle at Pailin has also been
stalled according to deputy chairman of the Assembly, Loy Sim Cheang.
Assembly's second day session on Tuesday May 17 was suspended early in the day
although no official reason for the break in the proceedings was
The Assembly has already been stalled for nearly half of the
allotted three months for this session. It is presently scheduled to continue
through to the end of June.