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Opposition return to National Assembly ‘likely’ on Friday

Cambodia National Rescue Party members and Kem Sokha (third left) attend a parliamentary session at the National Assembly in Phnom Penh last year. Facebook
Cambodia National Rescue Party members and Kem Sokha (third left) attend a parliamentary session at the National Assembly in Phnom Penh last year. Facebook

Opposition return to National Assembly ‘likely’ on Friday

The Cambodia National Rescue Party looks set to join the National Assembly’s plenary session on Friday, party insiders said yesterday; though an official CNRP spokesman stopped short of confirming his colleagues would be in attendance.

After a meeting of the CNRP’s permanent committee yesterday, party spokesman Yem Ponhearith said CNRP parliamentarians were considering ending their boycott of the legislature, but they would “wait and see” about the political situation first.

However, two lawmakers, who requested anonymity to speak freely, said they believed CNRP representatives would attend.

“We will join for the plenary session,” said one, while another said it was “highly likely” the lawmakers would attend.

For several months, the party has refused to participate in the parliament in protest of a slew of legal cases against CNRP members and its top leadership including president Sam Rainsy and vice president Kem Sokha.

However, following signals from Prime Minister Hun Sen that the ruling Cambodian People’s Party would be willing to talk at the assembly, the party softened its stance.

“We hope that, as [Hun Sen] said, by joining the National Assembly session, we can meet,” Ponhearith said.

Reached yesterday, CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said whether or not the opposition counterparts attended was unimportant, as the ruling party held the majority and could still pass laws.

Asked about negotiations, Eysan said “not everything can be predicted”.

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