Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM, Sokha expected present at National Assembly

PM, Sokha expected present at National Assembly

Deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha speaks at the party’s headquarters in Phnom Penh on Sunday. Photo supplied
Deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha speaks at the party’s headquarters in Phnom Penh on Sunday. Photo supplied

PM, Sokha expected present at National Assembly

Prime Minister Hun Sen and deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha are today set to come face to face for the first time since Sokha went into effective hiding to avoid arrest six months ago – a period during which the premier threatened to jail him for life.

Officials from both the Cambodian People’s Party and the Cambodia National Rescue Party confirmed yesterday that Hun Sen and Sokha – who has only left CNRP headquarters once since May 26 – will attend the National Assembly to vote on next year’s budget.

Speaking at an inauguration ceremony of National Road 76 in Ratanakkiri province, Hun Sen himself said that he would attend the assembly meeting in the morning before flying to Siem Reap for a meeting with the prime ministers of Vietnam and Laos.

“Whether the National Assembly session is finished or not, I will have to leave for Siem Reap,” Hun Sen told the audience. “The other lawmakers will not be going anywhere; it will just be one lawmaker, Hun Sen, going to lead a meeting of the development triangle.”

CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said that he believed Hun Sen would greet CNRP lawmakers, including Sokha, as is customary, but that Sokha should not get his hopes up for any special negotiations with Hun Sen about the political climate.

“There will be normal talk, and they will greet each other, but there will be no talk about political issues,” Eysan said, before predicting Sokha’s requests.

“His request to meet is to release [CNRP] prisoners, but a political party cannot solve the issue of the prisoners.”

“We are waiting for the procedures of the court to be finished first,” the spokesman said.

CNRP spokesman Yem Ponhearith also confirmed that Sokha, who was in September sentenced to five months in jail but so far remains free pending appeals, would leave the safety of party headquarters for the second time since a May 26 arrest attempt.

He said both parties’ presence at the budget debate and vote was a step towards releasing the many opposition activists and officials presently in jail after a year of recriminations.

“I believe that this is a positive thing for seeking a resolution, because it is a good opportunity for the parties that have seats in the parliament to come and work together,” the CNRP spokesman said.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,