THE National Assembly is poised to vote for its three representatives to the nine-member
Constitutional Council by as early as May 8.
Funcinpec parliamentarian Ahmed Yahya, speaking after the opposition boycott of the
Assembly ended, said Hun Sen and the CPP had agreed to the same deal on the Constitutional
Council that was originally agreed upon in 1993: that the dominant parties represented
in the Assembly (CPP, Funcinpec and BLDP) will each choose one council member.
But the CPP or its "affiliate" parties could yet emerge from the Assembly
on Friday with three Constitutional Council members. Well-informed sources said the
CPP may still seek to control more nominations. At present, a simple majority of
61 votes in a secret ballot - a number the CPP now controls - is enough to elect
three loyal CPP officials if they so wished.
This fact was not lost on the opposition, who included a balanced Constitutional
Council on their list of demands to end the boycott.
But they apparently did not get a clarification on what a Funcinpec- or BLDP-chosen
council member means.
CPP spokesman Khieu Kan-harith remarked after the compromise: "My opinion is
that it is okay. If the candidate fulfills the criteria... that won't be a problem.
But there are many Funcinpecs, which one will it be?"
The BLDP, which earned 10 seats in the Assembly in 1993, has split in two and it
is unclear whether the "opposition" half or the other one aligned with
Hun Sen will choose a councillor.
Assembly Secretary-General Than Sina confirmed the parliament's short-listed candidates
to the Constitutional Council as:
ï Yang Som, 55, a CPP candidate favored by Hun Sen, who has lived in the US for
the last 30 years and has an economics degree. He is a former Molinaka party member
who won a Funcinpec Assembly seat in 1993 only to join the CPP and give up the seat
before the first meeting of the Assembly.
ï Binh Chhin, a CPP Assembly member from Prey Veng where he was once the deputy
governor. He also has a law degree. His nomination was apparently forwarded by Chea
ï Top Sam, a CPP nominee forwarded by Hun Sen, who is an undersecretary of commerce
and has an economics degree. He has been involved in commerce for the government
ï Kong Roeun (also known as Lert Wongsanith), CPP, a diplomat during the Sihanouk
regime, who has lived in Japan. He has a PhD.
ï Say Bory, 57, who appears to have been forwarded by Ung Huot or Assembly First
Vice President Loy Sim Chheang. He is a former BLDP member and the current president
of the Cambodian bar association who has expressed an interest in stepping down.
He appears to have a good working relationship with CPP Justice Minister Chem Snguon.
The candidacy list supporting him was signed only by members of the Assembly elected
as Funcinpec or BLDP. He was deputy governor of Siem Reap from 1966-1969. A judicial
adviser to UNTAC on constitutional matters, he is a French citizen.
ï Chea Sophaon, Funcinpec, a French citizen and an adviser to Ranariddh with a
banking background. She is the only woman short-listed.
ï Uk Vithun, Funcinpec candidate with French citizenship who is Secretary of State
for Justice, an adviser to Prince Norodom Ranariddh and a lawyer. He is a former
judge who fled to France in the 1970s.
Three Council members were appointed by the King in 1993; three others to be selected
by the Supreme Council of Magistracy remain unnamed.