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Hun Sen offers NA posts to 'nicer' opposition

Hun Sen offers NA posts to 'nicer' opposition

PRIME Minister Hun Sen announced Wednesday that the ruling Cambodian People's Party has reserved two seats on each of the National Assembly's nine special commissions for opposition party members - on condition they adopt a "nicer" attitude.

Speaking at a graduation ceremony at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, Hun Sen said two seats on each commission were open to the opposition, but that they had so far refused to put themselves forward as candidates.

"Come on, now, if you want, but I can't guarantee parliamentarians will vote in favour of this decision," Hun Sen said. "You spend your day insulting me.... Be nicer, and this proposal will have a chance to pass."

But Sam Rainsy Party spokesman Yim Sovann rejected the invitations, saying the ruling party must make more than cosmetic changes as a means of ensuring a balance between the executive and legislative arms of government.

"The ruling CPP has taken total control of the National Assembly, which is not usual for a system of democracy," he said. "We need to have some role in the National Assembly's Permanent Committee that will enable us to make changes to draft laws to serve the interests of the people."

Yim Sovann said the opposition would not take on any role in the National Assembly that did not serve the interests of the people.

"We need a strong National Assembly that can check over the government's affairs in order to make our society more transparent," he said.

The SRP and Human Rights Party in January signed an agreement to align under the banner of the Democratic Movement for Change following last year's national election, in which the CPP won 90 of the National Assembly's 123 seats.

Cheam Yeap, a member of the Permanent Committee of the National Assembly, made up of the chairpersons of the nine special commissions, said according to NA rules, each commission had at least seven members but that additional members can be added through a simple majority vote.

"We can't force them to join us," he said.

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