A REPORT released Tuesday by the election monitoring group Comfrel criticised the power wielded by Cambodian People’s Party lawmakers in the National Assembly, contending that all decisions issued by the body during the first year of the party’s fourth mandate were made exclusively by its own representatives.
“The power in the assembly is in the hands of a single party,” the report states.
The authors of the report note that members of the CPP hold the positions of president and vice president on all nine of the assembly’s committees.
Kim Chhorn, a senior coordinator for Comfrel, said the report covered the period from September 2008 to September 2009, and that all activities performed by lawmakers had been investigated.
In a speech marking the launch of the report, Comfrel investigator Sok Pitou said all draft laws put forward by the government had been adopted without amendment, regardless of objections from opposition lawmakers.
“No agendas or draft laws raised in assembly sessions aren’t adopted,” he said. “Even when there is controversy during discussion, they must be finally adopted.”
SRP lawmaker Yim Sovann said he welcomed the Comfrel report, and described it as an accurate portrayal of the balance of power in the National Assembly.
“The assembly is just working to seal every request of the Cambodian People’s Party,” he said.
But Chhean Von, a CPP parliamentarian, contested the report’s assertion that opposition lawmakers had been left out of decision-making processes.
“There is not only one party that governs the whole Assembly, but [decisions are made] with all parties who have seats in the assembly,” he said.
“All assembly members are decision makers on agendas and drafts, so any parties without having a majority voice can win any jobs in the committees,” he said.
However, he noted that members of the assembly never support bids by opposition lawmakers to assume leadership positions.
Kim Chhorn urged voters to play an active role in helping to monitor the legislative process.
“Voters have to not only elect a representative during the national election period, but also to investigate and watch over their activities after the election,” he said.