Prime Minister Hun Sen said yesterday he had rejected calls from opposition Sam Rainsy Party lawmakers to enter negotiations with him over the national budget bill, telling them instead that they were welcome to resign from the National Assembly if they did not want to debate the bill there.
Speaking at a public and private sector forum, Hun Sen also said he would not negotiate with SRP lawmakers even if they all resigned, saying that a minority party cannot force a ruling party to do its bidding.
He said that SRP parliamentarians had told him that if he did not negotiate with them, they would boycott the National Assembly or resign.
“I have written to them to tell them if you are crazy, only you are crazy. I will not join in the craziness with you, and it is better for all 26 [SRP] MPs to resign to avoid difficulties,” he said. Their seats would be divided among other parties, Hun Sen said, adding that he hoped they would attend today’s session at the National Assembly.
“In Cambodia, no one has the right to veto. Even the King does not have the right to veto,” he said, adding that under parliamentary systems, a National Assembly cannot be vetoed.
SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said Hun Sen’s labeling the SRP as crazy because its members were resigning from the National Assembly was demeaning to those who voted for the party, adding that a combined 1 million people voted for them. “The SRP represents millions of people, so millions of people are not crazy,” he said.
The MPs were simply defending the people who supported them, and the party could not remain silent while the ruling Cambodian People’s Party was grabbing people’s land to give to private companies, he added. “There are some who use violence to defend power, but the SRP wants to create a culture of responsibility for the nation,” Yim Sovann said.
He also confirmed that the SRP has sent letters to three other parties with seats in parliament, asking them to join its boycott to save the nation from falling into debt to foreign countries. Human Rights Party president Kem Sokha said his MPs would attend the session, but would not support the 2012 budget bill.
Norodom Ranariddh Party spokesman Pen Sangha said NRP parliamentarians would not join the boycott because they were obligated to attend it by the people who voted for them to be there.