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National Assembly passes $6 billion 2018 budget

National Assembly members vote in favour of the Kingdom’s budget for 2018 on Friday in Phnom Penh.
National Assembly members vote in favour of the Kingdom’s budget for 2018 on Friday in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

National Assembly passes $6 billion 2018 budget

The National Assembly, with only ruling party lawmakers in attendance, voted on Friday to pass the national budget for 2018 and to add two additional positions to 10 parliamentary committees, a day after a Supreme Court ruling dissolved the only other party to hold seats in the assembly.

The Cambodia National Rescue Party ceased to exist on Thursday after the Supreme Court used widely condemned amendments to the Law on Political Parties to dissolve it for its purported attempt to overthrow the government.

The $6 billion national budget will see the education, health and defence ministries receive substantial increases, and was passed by 65 Cambodian People’s Party lawmakers, including Prime Minister Hun Sen. The ruling party holds 68 seats to the now-dissolved CNRP’s 55.

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“We had already passed the draft budget law with 65 voices on Friday, and the document explains what sectors are a priority, including education, health, the elections and social sectors,” said National Assembly spokesman Leng Peng Long.

Peng Long added that the assembly’s 10 parliamentary committees will now each have two additional members, taking membership up to 11.

“Before there were nine people, and sometimes one party did not come, another party did not have enough members to hold the meeting. [Now] even if there are absentees, we can continue the meetings,” he said.

Under recently passed amendments to the Law on the Election of Members of the National Assembly, the CNRP’s parliamentary seats will now be redistributed among six small parties – mostly to the royalist Funcinpec party, which pushed to have the CNRP dissolved.

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