Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Election delay feared by MPs



Election delay feared by MPs

Election delay feared by MPs

C AMBODIA'S politicians should start thinking about the 1998 election now if they

want to make sure they're ready to hold it, say two foreign consultants in town

to run a seminar for members of parliament.

But several MPs told the

Post they're not sure there will be enough political stability to hold a vote in

three years' time.

Speaking after the three-day seminar (March 30-Apr

1), John Bosley, the former Speaker of the Canadian Parliament, recommended

Cambodia set up an electoral commission to develop the system for the next

election.

"What I have heard expressed by some MPs is the UN will come

back and do it for them. Ha... wrong," Bosley said in an interview.

"If

you believe it'll take three or four years [to hold the new election], the

pressure would be to start now. But, there is also a sense that anything in

Cambodia can be done as necessary at the last minute quite well."

During

the seminar, Bosley said, some MPs "quietly, quietly" expressed concerns about

whether or not they could have new election in three years, while some stressed

the need to first establish stability and trust between political parties,

especially Funcinpec and the Cambodian People's Party (CPP).

One MP, who

requested anonymity, expressed fear that the government may find an excuse to

create a situation to halt the new election.

The leaders could

then ask the King to grant an extension under Article 78 of the Constitution,

which allows the King to announce an extension of the legislature's term for one

more year, if an election cannot be held because of war or other specific

circumstances.

"They [the government] can set up a situation by all

means, even in reality it does not necessarily have to be. The main factor is

not the King," the MP said.

"[The new electoral system] will depend on

what the CPP want. They can have what they want. But for Funcinpec, they can not

have what they want."

Ahmad Yahya, a Funcinpec MP, said a decision on the

new electoral system must first come from the leadership of parties before the

National Assembly can proceed to prepare an electoral law.

However, he

said that some MPs showed a preference for having the next election held on

constituency basis so that they could better ensure their independent role as

people's representatives.

"By doing so, MPs can represent the voice of

their constituency and also avoid saying that people did not vote for them, but

for parties that appoint them [as MPs] later," Yahya said.

Ek Sam Ol, a

CPP MP, said "I would like to keep the proportional representation system

because under a constituency system it's possible one party alone could win 100

percent of the seats in the Assembly."

While Bosley was reluctant to

suggest exactly what the new system might be, his colleague Peter Dobell,

president of the Parliamentary Center which organized the seminar, said he

"would suggest you give serious consideration to an electoral system that gives

some kind of representation at the constituency level.

"The advantage of

a constituency system is it makes certain that the government knows where there

are problems with ordinary people," he added.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Nine US franchises eye Cambodia debut

    Nine famous US franchising companies are looking for business opportunities and expansion into Cambodia to build a footstep for a strong foundation in Southeast Asia. The US embassy in Phnom Penh, in partnership with the US Foreign Commercial Service and with support from the American

  • Jab drive announced for two more Phnom Penh districts

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration on May 15 announced a first-dose novel-coronavirus vaccination campaign for Boeung Keng Kang and Sen Sok districts from May 18-31, and a follow-up second-shot drive from June 1-15. Twenty vaccination sites have been set up in a combined 13 communes across both