Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - More parties to accept seats

More parties to accept seats

Khmer Economic Development Party leader Huon Reach Chamroeun (right), seen debating the CNRP’s Kem Sokha (centre) and CPP’s Sok Eysan (left) in 2013, has said his party will accept the CNRP’s seats in parliament if it is dissolved.
Khmer Economic Development Party leader Huon Reach Chamroeun (right), seen debating the CNRP’s Kem Sokha (centre) and CPP’s Sok Eysan (left) in 2013, has said his party will accept the CNRP’s seats in parliament if it is dissolved. Pha Lina

More parties to accept seats

Two more minor parties have come forward saying they will take up National Assembly seats that will be dished out if the Cambodia National Rescue Party is dissolved, amid accusations from other dissenting parties that accepting the seats makes them complicit in undermining the country’s democracy.

The Cambodian Nationality Party (CNP) and the Khmer Economic Development Party (KEDP) – which between them won less than 1 percent of the popular vote but are now likely to occupy three parliamentary seats – confirmed they would accept the positions after the government swiftly passed laws on Monday allowing the redistribution of CNRP seats to minor parties.

“We don’t reject [the seats] because we just follow the laws that the National Assembly approved,” said CNP President Seng Sokheng. The party is expected to take one seat in Kampong Cham and another in Prey Veng.

“I don’t care about any criticism – this act is to serve the national interest, to maintain safety and security of the nation, and to keep social and political stability,” he said.

KEDP President Huon Reach Chamroeun, whose party is due to pick up a single seat in Kandal, could not be reached yesterday, but he posted comments made in an interview with local news outlet Rasmei Kampuchea Daily to his Facebook page.

“If we do not accept or boycott the distribution of those seats, it means we are not respecting the rule of law,” he said. “If we are not accepting democracy, why do we do politics?”

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Yet other parties, who were set to make larger gains, have said taking those seats would in fact be undemocratic.

The Khmer Anti-Poverty Party last week vowed not to accept its five seats, saying doing so would violate the people’s will.

Members of the League for Democracy Party, due to receive six seats, last week gave conflicting answers, but yesterday spokesman Kov Kea said the party had resolved not to accept the positions that rightfully belonged to the CNRP.

“In the situation where they distribute the seats to us – not only six seats but even more than this – we will still not accept because [they are] useless. We cannot use those seats to do anything,” Kea said.

“With 55 seats, the CNRP cannot do anything, so what could six seats do?”

Their refusal leaves 11 seats open, meaning they could fall to the CNP and KEDP, along with royalist party Funcinpec, while potentially bringing the Republican Democracy Party (RDP) into play. The RDP deputy president said his party would have to meet to discuss their options, but in his own opinion, “if we share their seats that were [voted on] by the people, it is not democracy”.

Funcinpec spokesman Nheb Bun Chin, who on Monday compared his party acceptance 41 seats to accepting gift of $1 million, said he would certainly fill a seat in Battambang. “If they give it to me, why not? . . . It’s very clean, legally speaking,” he said. “You can accuse [that there is] only one party making the law, but it doesn’t matter, the law is the law.”

He also compared his political situation to The Voice Kids, where an “innocent” 12-year-old boy was barraged with criticism on social media.

“If people try to criticise us, I don’t care – you cannot stop the people from criticising.”

Additional reporting by Erin Handley

MOST VIEWED

  • Accused not treated equally, says CCHR

    The Cambodia Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) has urged the Court of Appeal to do more to ensure that an accused’s right to a fair trial is fully respected. In a bulletin released on Monday, the CCHR said it had monitored 273 cases at the

  • Investors’ $14.4M projects approved

    New investments from local and foreign sources continue to pour into Cambodia despite the Covid-19 pandemic remaining a lingering threat to regional and global economies. This comes as the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract between one and 2.9 per cent this

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to