Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - House finally in action after premiers' deal

House finally in action after premiers' deal

House finally in action after premiers' deal

T

HE National Assembly's third session finally got underway on May 16 after a

deal struck between the Co-Premiers removed from the top of the agenda debate

about the admissions of CPP strongmen Sing Song and Prince Norodom Chakrapong

into the Assembly.

The Assembly had been paralysed for three weeks, and

unable to consider vital legislation on the economy and social issues, because

of a bitter conflict between the CPP and its coalition partners over the two

men.

The pair declined to take their seats in the Assembly after last

year's elections and instead led a failed succession attempt in seven eastern

provinces.

Funcinpec has been strongly against their re-inclusion in the

Assembly arguing it went against Untac electoral law. But the CPP stood by the

men. The deadlock finally ended after a meeting between Co-Premiers Prince

Norodom Ranariddh and Hun Sen and National Assembly Chairman, Chea Sim, on May

12. They agreed to put the issue to the bottom of the present agenda. It is now

unclear when it will be resolved.

On May 16 the Assembly discussed the

government's economic plan for 1994-95, which had been presented earlier at the

Icorc in Tokyo.

The plan was approved but discussion on the press law,

listed next on the agenda, was deferred due to protests about some provisions.

As the Post went to press the Assembly was discussing the draft law on

urbanization and construction. Discussion on the appointment of General Sin Sen

and General Kieng Vang as Secretaries of State to the Interior Ministry was next

on the agenda.

The last item on the agenda is the induction of the 19

new Assembly members including Chakrapong and Sin Song.

Though the

Assembly could theoretically go on with its work indefinitely it is now unclear

when this issue will be properly resolved.

"It seems as if Funcinpec

will give in to CPP pressure on the issue," said one BLDP MP.

Most

foreign observers and legislators who are against their re-induction say that if

Funcinpec does buckle under and allow the two to be re-inducted, it will set a

bad precedent and also diminish the party's political weight.

Important

legislation on investment and immigration are said to be near completion, but

they have not yet been listed on the current agenda.

Other important

laws on labor, nationality and criminal procedures are also needed, but it is

still unclear what stage of preparation they are at and whether they can come up

for discussion during this session.

Earlier, there was also controversy

over a draft supreme council of magistracy law, to set up a council which would

deal with the organization and functioning of the judiciary.

Protesting

against the fact that the Minister of Justice in his draft had put himself on

what should have been an independent judicial council, some members of

parliament had prepared an alternative draft law.

Discussion on this

issue has also been deferred in an effort to find a compromise acceptable to all

political parties.

With the King expected to return to Beijing on May 18

the fate of the proposed government-Khmer Rouge peace talks and the proposed

bill outlawing the KR remain uncertain.

In a bid to make the King defer

his Beijing trip, some legislators from Funcinpec and BLDP signed a petition

giving him the power to personally deal with the KR issue, and assuring him of

their full support. No impact on the King's departure plans was noted at press

time.

An initiative by some MPs to question the co-defence ministers on

the floor of the house about the military debacle at Pailin has also been

stalled according to deputy chairman of the Assembly, Loy Sim Cheang.

The

Assembly's second day session on Tuesday May 17 was suspended early in the day

although no official reason for the break in the proceedings was

available.

The Assembly has already been stalled for nearly half of the

allotted three months for this session. It is presently scheduled to continue

through to the end of June.

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