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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - SRP storms out, is voted in

SRP storms out, is voted in

Elections for the Parliamentary Senate commissions resulted in a walkout by the opposition Sam Rainsy Party on Wednesday.

SRP members were angered when, in the first round of voting, they failed to be elected to any of the four places being filled in each of the two commissions that candidates were contesting in the Cambodian People’s Party-dominated upper house.

Each of the nine commissions has five seats to fill.

Party storm-out

Before a second round of voting could take place, the acting party president for the SRP, Kong Korm, and his 10 SRP colleagues stormed out of the meeting.

They were therefore unaware when Kong Korm and Ke Sovannroth were elected as commission members.        

Speaking outside the meeting hall, Kong Korm claimed that the results rendered the commissions meaningless and said the number of seats on each commission should be expanded to allow an opposition representative on each.

“In short, the purpose of the national assembly is to ensure that both legislative bodies are dominated by one party,” he said. “The CPP allowed us to stand but now they vote to demolish us.”

Democracy or domination

Cheam Yeap, senior lawmaker for the CPP, said the elections were consistent with democratic principles.

“The number of seats awarded depend on the result of elections,” he said.

Laura Thornton, the National Democratic Institute’s resident director, said she was not surprised by the results.

She said the CPP had interpreted its increase in seats at the 2008 election as a carte blanche to dominate decision making.

“They see the increase in public support and their huge majority as a mandate to control all areas of government activity,” she added.

To contact the reporters on this story: Meas Sokchea at meas.sokchea@phnompenhpost.com
Anna Brown at annabrownkernow@yahoo.co.uk

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