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Opposition commission heads leaked

The names of lawmakers selected to head five new opposition-led commissions in the National Assembly have been officially announced to Cambodia National Rescue Party members, a senior party official told the Post yesterday.

According to the CNRP official, who asked to remain anonymous, of the five commissions, Mu Sochua will head Social Affairs and Health; Yim Sovann, Anti-Corruption; Eang Chhay Yun, Human Rights; Pol Ham, Rural Development and Environment; and Yem Ponnarith, Religion.

“The party has already announced it officially within the party, but it’s not public yet,” the source said.

Party leader Sam Rainsy refused to confirm or deny the names, adding that doing so would be “a little premature”.

In a closed-door ceremony of the Cambodian Red Cross yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said that plans for the CNRP to take its seats in the National Assembly today would have to be postponed if the parties could not agree on the agenda of the session, which is scheduled to debate the amendment of the internal regulation of parliament.

“His Excellency Kem Sokha has asked me to vote as a package in the meeting for both deputy president of parliament and heads of commissions. I said that it is impossible,” Hun Sen said.

“[Sokha] is worried that he will not be elected [as deputy president]. I told him that I guarantee to encourage [CPP] lawmakers to vote for [him] and not to worry.”

Rainsy and Sovann told the Post that the CNRP lawmakers would be in attendance.

Yesterday, three CNRP members jailed over their alleged involvement in a violent protest last month were denied bail.

In a letter made public and signed by deputy prosecutor Keo Socheat, investigating judge Keo Mony and court clerk Tob Phanarin, one of the three, Kheun Chumreoun, was denied bail on the basis that it would “affect the court’s investigation”.

In a joint statement, more than 20 civil society groups condemned the decision and called for the “trumped up charges” to be dropped.

“The court should abide by the law instead of the political agenda and release the three youth leaders as well as dropping charges against all accused CNRP members,” Yeng Virak, executive director of the Community Legal Education Center, said in the statement.

Speaking yesterday evening, Rainsy said the party had “just put forward a request for the government to intervene in their favour”.

“This would reflect the agreement of July 22. The agreement includes those in prison … the agreement specifies that the detainees must be released. So we have just reminded the ruling party of their commitments.”

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