Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday recommended replacing three National Election Committee members who resigned from the body after the dissolution of the opposition last week with two representatives of minor parties and one from civil society.
Three Cambodia National Rescue Party-appointed members resigned from their positions on Monday following the opposition party’s widely condemned dissolution, calling plans to redistribute the CNRP’s 55 National Assembly seats a “violation of the will of the people”.
In a speech, the premier said unnamed people had told the members to resign to make the NEC “become paralysed”. “In the last few days, crazy acts happened . . . [But] please notice, whenever the law is made with the participation of CPP, the law will not be paralysed,” Hun Sen said yesterday.
He went on to say that a candidate from the minor royalist Funcinpec party – set to receive the lion’s share of the CNRP’s seats – should get the role of NEC deputy director. “The Khmer Nationality Party . . . should get one [candidate] as well, and apart from that, it should be an NGO [candidate],” he said, adding the proposal was “just my idea”.
He added that the three resigned members could not return, and calling their resignation “stupid”.
Under the law, NEC positions are to be filled by candidates chosen by parties within the Assembly; however, what remains of the election body must first approve the candidates of political parties awarded seats in the Assembly redistribution.
Yoeurng Sotheara, of the election watchdog Comfrel, said the assembly would likely follow the premier’s lead as “the National Assembly seems to be under the control of one party”.
Additional reporting by Leonie Kijewski