Prime Minister Hun Sen pointed out in a Facebook post today that the opposition had failed to wrest control of the Senate from his Cambodian People’s Party, despite having hoped to do so, losing out on crucial constitutional powers in the process.
Only commune councillors vote in the six-yearly Senate elections – the next is due by January 2018 – and the senator selected as the chamber’s president holds the constitutional powers of head of state when the king is abroad. CPP Vice President Say Chhum presently holds the position.
“They campaigned saying that in 2017 they would take the communes and the Senate,” Hun Sen wrote on Facebook in reference to the opposition, noting that if the party won a majority on Sunday it would have gained great constitutional powers very soon.
The Senate president has always come from the CPP and has in the past used the constitutional powers of the position to approve controversial laws while the king was away. Yet the prime minister wrote that there was no risk of losing that power.
“The Cambodian People’s Party will continue to lead with a majority of the votes in the Senate,” he said.