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NA meeting planned on ‘minority’ clause

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Kem Sokha speaks at the office of the Cambodia National Rescue Party in Phnom Penh last year. Heng Chivoan

NA meeting planned on ‘minority’ clause

The National Assembly’s permanent committee will likely meet on Monday to consider a move by the Cambodian People’s Party to scrap the opposition’s standing as the parliamentary “minority” group by amending the legislature’s internal regulations, according to an official.

The proposal, flagged by Prime Minister Hun Sen this week, would remove Cambodia National Rescue Party acting president Kem Sokha as “minority leader”.

The position, ostensibly equal in rank to the premier, is stipulated in Article 48 III of the assembly’s internal regulations.

Its holder is designated as a “dialogue partner” to the prime minister. Hun Sen called for the article to be scrapped, saying the opposition had created trouble by using the arrangement to lobby for the release of prisoners.

Yesterday, National Assembly Secretary-General Leng Peng Long said the assembly had received a request by 50 CPP lawmakers to amend the provision.

“We are preparing [a proposal] to submit to Samdech President of National Assembly [Heng Samrin] to hold a permanent committee session on [Monday],” Peng Long said, but added the date was not fixed.

The National Assembly’s permanent committee is controlled by a CPP majority, as is the assembly, meaning there’s nothing stopping them from pushing the change through.

CNRP spokespersons Yim Sovann and Yem Ponhearith could not be reached for comment on the matter yesterday.

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