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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Soubert: NA is outside law

Soubert: NA is outside law

Soubert: NA is outside law

V ice-President of the National Assembly Son Soubert said that the House is

currently operating outside the law and against the Constitution because the

issue of the seating of its members has not been settled. He also warned that

the failure of the government to forward draft bills has raised the prospect

that the National Assembly will end this session with very little

accomplished.

"We [the National Assembly] live in illegality, we are not

valid," Son Soubert said.

"Why? Because those MPs who have been appointed

as governors and as ambassadors have not been replaced. The constitution

stipulates that the National Assembly is composed of 120 members."

"The

whole thing has been blocked by the unsolved problem of the two CPP candidates,

Prince Chakrapong and Sin Song, and soon this session of the National Assembly

will be closed, and we still live in illegality."

Son Soubert is the

General Secretary of BLDP, a member of the National Assembly from Battambang,

and the son of BLDP's President Son Sann.

Three members of the National

Assembly have been appointed to ambassadorial rank, Son Soubert said, and other

members were assigned as governors when Funcinpec split control of the 22

provinces with the CPP.

Son Soubert said: "In my opinion, there has been

no blockade here at the National Assembly. The press is blaming us for not

adopting any laws. But we are still waiting for the government to give us the

drafts."

"The bill on immigration has been promised since at least March,

and we still have not seen the draft. The same is true for the investment

law.

"The press law has been withdrawn because of international

opposition. The Council of the Magistracy Law has been opposed by our Parliament

because we think it is not constitutional. Now it seems that they are going to

sort out this problem, but it seems that we have wasted a lot of time and soon

it will be the end of the session."

The National Assembly has not met

since before the co-premiers went to Pyongyang. It was then the Press Law was

withdrawn from consideration. Lt Gen Tol Las, the General Secretary of the

National Assembly, said on June 13 that the next meeting had not yet been

determined.

"We will meet when the next bill arrives from the Council of

Ministers. The Cambodian press is blaming the National Assembly for the few

number of laws that have been passed.

"There are no single draft laws

stuck in the Assembly. We have acted on every law that has been given to us. The

Law for the Organization of the Council of Ministers has been returned to the

Council of Ministers for proposed amendments. When it comes back it must be

disseminated to the members of the Assembly who must be given time to read the

bill. We might be able to meet at the end of next week [June 24]."

Lt Gen

Las said that the Assembly is due to recess this session on July 7. "But it

seems likely that there will be many extraordinary sessions."

Lt Gen Las

said that he expected to see a draft Immigration Law very soon, and the

Investment Law at some point.

The Council of Ministers is also expected

to return the Press Law, previously withdrawn from the Assembly in the face of

domestic and international opposition and the Council of Magistracy Law,

withdrawn for re-drafting because of disagreement about its

membership.

"Members in the National Assembly disagreed with the

inclusion of the Minister of Justice on the Council of Magistracy. These members

have countered with a proposal that the National Assembly select three experts

to sit on the Council," Son Soubert said. The job of the Council of Magistracy

will be to choose and discipline Cambodia's Justices.

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