"It's a nice day for a hanging," remarked a spectator in the National Assembly,
but this was to be no showpiece public event.
The victim went to his
'execution' giving the Victory sign, the drama lasted less than three minutes,
and most of the participants raced for the doors the moment the deed was
The final blow to Sam Rainsy, MP - his expulsion from the National
Assembly on June 22 - was delivered with precision, swiftness and a distinct
lack of fanfare.
A good crowd turned out for the occasion but, except for
Rainsy, none of the key players turned up.
There was no sign of Funcinpec
leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh - architect of Rainsy's ousting from both party
and Parliament - National Assembly president Chea Sim or CPP leader Hun
But this was no day to be absent for the rest of Cambodia's
Parliamentarians, and the assembly's debating benches were packed with MPs from
The public galleries were also full, as journalists,
diplomats, NGO workers and others jostled for a view of the
The action began shortly before 8am when Rainsy arrived at
the assembly, smiling broadly and giving the Victory sign with two
He paused once more for the photographers outside the front
doors, before going inside to meet his fate.
MPs were kept waiting for
about 10 minutes before assembly chairmen Loy Sim Chheang and Son Soubert took
their seats, confirming expectations that Chea Sim would not attend.
Post understands there was earlier discussion between the three men about who
would formally proclaim Rainsy persona non grata in the National
Chea Sim, according to an aide, was "embarrassed" by the whole
affair and his deputies weren't too keen on taking the limelight
In the end the task fell to Loy Sim Chheang, with Son Soubert at
his elbow, who read a short statement declaring "Mr Nou Saing Khan as a new
Funcinpec deputy for Siem Reap province, replacing Mr Sam Rainsy".
BLDP MP Kem Sokha and Rainsy raised their hands to speak but were ignored by Loy
Sim Chheang, who then adjourned the assembly meeting he had opened just a moment
or two earlier.
There was no chance for debate on Rainsy's removal, nor
on other items such as the controversial draft press law on the day's
As the assembly was adjourned, ending perhaps the shortest
Parliamentary session ever held in Cambodia's democratic history, a dozen or so
MPs leapt to their feet to applaud loudly.
They almost immediately headed
for the doors, signaling the start of a mass exodus of MPs.
got to his feet to speak as they moved from the room, some smiling and joking
with each other.
Only a handful - Kem Sokha, Ahmad Yahya, Pol Ham and Ky
Lum Ang - stayed in their seats to listen to Rainsy.
"This is anarchy. Go
and shut off the loudspeaker system," Minister of Agriculture Tao Seng Hour told
an assembly official as he left the building. Inside, Rainsy continued his
speech unabashed - urging MPs to dare to speak their minds and consciences -
while journalists spilled into the debating chamber to hear him
Diplomats, including British Ambassador Paul Reddicliffe, watched
stone-faced from their seats in the public galleries.
By the time Rainsy
had finished, only two MPs, Kem Sokha and Ahmad Yahya remained
Both delivered their own speeches, with a visibly-upset Yahya -
who finds himself dangerously alone as a Funcinpec MP prepared to challenge the
government - earning the applause of some Khmer journalists present.
speeches delivered, the tears threatening, the last three of 120 MPs wandered
The most momentous event in the National Assembly's history, like
the first Parliamentary term of Siem Reap representative Sam Rainsy, was over in