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SRP pledges budget boycott

Sam Rainsy (right) speaks during a press conference in Phnom Penh in 2009.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy has declared his party will boycott parliament’s debate of the 2012 budget draft law in an attempt to render its adoption invalid.

In a statement obtained by the Post yesterday, Sam Rainsy said the boycott was intended to cast doubt over the legality and validity of a budget that allowed a corrupt government to exploit state revenues while increasing foreign debt.

Citing article 76 of the constitution, which states “The [National] Assembly consists of at least 120 members”, the statement said the withdrawal of SRP lawmakers – who occupy 26 of 123 seats – would at least cause donors to reassess their commitments to Cambodia.

“More precisely, when it comes to the ratification by the National Assembly of loans from international institutions and foreign countries, even a little doubt is enough for serious and professional creditors to stop, reduce or delay any loans that appear more risky,” it read.

“We just do not attend to sit in the parliament and raise [our] hands, it is useless; [The Cambodian Peoples Party] has never listened to our opinion.”

The CPP’s deputy president of the National Assembly, Nguon Nhel, said it made no difference whether or not 120 members voted for the legislation to pass, provided more than 50 percent of votes supported the law.

“Therefore, [the SRP boycott] in order to have the Assembly not to go ahead seems to be SRP delirium,” Nguon Nhel said.

Human Rights Party president Kem Sokha declined to confirm whether or not the HRP would boycott parliament, but said in principle he supported the move and would vote against the draft budget law.

Outspoken government critic Son Soubert, said the boycott posed a difficult “new question” as to whether or not a valid budget could still be passed, which would ultimately be decided by the constitutional council.

“In some ways they are sabotaging the whole process, but at the same time, it’s their right to boycott. They can walk out of the Assembly . . . but this time it may have consequences.”

In an email sent yesterday, Sam Rainsy said the SRP would continue to block the National Assembly unless the government makes electoral reforms and holds a rium on land grabbing and instituted electoral reforms in line with recommendations from the European Union.



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