Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Council greenlights controversial election laws changes



Council greenlights controversial election laws changes

The Constitutional Council holds a meeting yesterday on amendments to election laws.
The Constitutional Council holds a meeting yesterday on amendments to election laws. Keo Ratana

Council greenlights controversial election laws changes

The Constitutional Council yesterday approved four sets of controversial amendments to Cambodia’s election laws, greenlighting changes that will pave the way for the main opposition party’s parliamentary seats to be redistributed in the event of its dissolution.

“We have checked whether those laws have followed the Constitution, and concluded that the meaning of those laws is based on the constitutional principle of multiparty democracy,” said Uth Chhorn, spokesman for the Council, during a media conference after the meeting.

The amendments, which have already passed the National Assembly and Senate, will reallocate the Cambodia National Rescue Party’s 55 National Assembly seats among minor parties, while allowing the ruling Cambodian People’s Party to occupy all of their local-level elected seats.

The decision to bar the CPP from taking the National Assembly seats was made to preserve “multiparty democracy”, which is enshrined in the Constitution. The amendments will now be sent back to the National Assembly, before they must be signed into law by the king.

Chhorn added that the amendments were “made carefully” and are “purely based on the Constitution”.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Yoeurng Sotheara, a legal expert at election monitor Comfrel, disagreed, saying the amendments “contrast with the Constitution”.

He pointed to Article 76, which says National Assembly members must be elected by a “direct” and “free and fair” election. “They must be representative of the voters, the citizens,” he said.

Even before the council approved the amendments, Sotheara was confident they would go through, explaining that the council simply rubberstamps what the government requests.

“We already know the result. One hundred percent the Constitutional Council will declare that it conforms with the Constitution,” he said yesterday before the approval was declared.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

CNRP Deputy President Mu Sochua, who fled the country last month after threats of arrest, agreed that the laws violated Article 76, and said the Constitutional Council was under direct influence from the government.

The council is composed of nine members, with three each selected by the Supreme Council of Magistracy, the Assembly and the King.

She added that members of the Council would “never dare to make any move that would jeopardise their positions”.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • PM asks India for vaccine help

    Prime Minister Hun Sen is seeking assistance from India for the provision of Covid-19 vaccines as the country has produced its own vaccine which is scheduled to be rolled out to more than 300 million Indians this year. The request was made during his meeting with

  • One million Chinese Covid-19 jabs to start rolling in from February

    The government has confirmed that Covid-19 vaccines from China are set to begin arriving in Cambodia by February. This came as the Ministry of Health recorded two imported cases of Covid-19 on January 18. While calling on people to remain vigilant against the pandemic, ministry spokeswoman