Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Sen sets deadline for election reform talks



Hun Sen sets deadline for election reform talks

Election officials count votes in Prey Veng province in 2013
Election officials count votes in Prey Veng province in 2013 during the national election. Hun Sen announced yesterday that a meeting would be held by the end of the week to finalise election reform. Vireak Mai

Hun Sen sets deadline for election reform talks

Prime Minister Hun Sen set a firm two-day deadline for negotiators from his Cambodian People’s Party and the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party to finalise a new electoral reform law, a source of contention for months.

Speaking at an annual Ministry of Interior conference yesterday, the premier told the working group to finish their draft by the end of the month, noting that if they failed to do so, the old election law would remain in effect. He also offered his own suggestions for provisions of the new law, including one intended to ensure that the incidents like the opposition’s year-long boycott of parliament after the 2013 elections never happen again.

In the new law, he said, “it must be included that elected parliamentarians of any party who will not attend the meeting to convene [parliament] by the King within the 60 days after the election are considered as having abandoned their seats in the National Assembly”.

“All [parties] must not be afraid [of entering parliament], and if you are afraid, it means that you do not recognise the result of the election,” he added.

Hun Sen also spoke out on the neutrality of the police and armed forces, which he said must remain absolute, unless any party launched an attack against the government, in which case the armed forces would have to act.

“I would like to stress that the police and the military can be neutral before political parties, but if those individual political parties abuse a law, it would not be tolerated,” said Hun Sen. “If a political party attacked the Council of Ministers, then the armed forces would not be neutral, because the armed forces are a tool to protect the constitution.”

In an apparent final dig at deported activist Alex Gonzalez-Davidson, Hun Sen also told police to look out for ill-intentioned foreigners.

Kuoy Bunreoun, head of CNRP’s electoral reform working group, said the parties would commit to finishing their draft by Friday and submitting it to a top-level meeting between party leader Sam Rainsy and Interior Minister Sar Kheng, but added that the premier’s suggestions must first be vetted in terms of their constitutionality.

MOST VIEWED

  • No payment required for travellers taking rapid Covid tests on arrival

    Ministry of Health officials said there would be no payment required for the rapid Covid-19 tests given to travellers who arrive in Cambodia from November 15 onwards after the quarantine requirement is lifted for fully vaccinated people. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told The Post on

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Police arrest Canadian with 167kg of drugs

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on November 15 placed a Canadian national in pre-trial detention in connection with smuggling and possessing 167kg of illegal drugs. Deputy National Police chief in charge of anti-drug enforcement Mak Chito told The Post on November 15 that the man was arrested