News / Asia

    Cambodian Opposition Gets Parliamentary Commission Roles

    FILE - Sam Rainsy, President of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), speaks to media after a meeting at the National Assembly in central Phnom Penh.
    FILE - Sam Rainsy, President of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), speaks to media after a meeting at the National Assembly in central Phnom Penh.
    Robert Carmichael

    This week lawmakers from Cambodia’s opposition party are being voted onto 10 parliamentary commissions. This is a key part of a political deal in which the opposition finally agreed to take its 55 seats in parliament, ending its year-long boycott over alleged vote-rigging in the general election.

    The proceedings at parliament are an important step on the road to political normality.

    The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) boycotted parliament for months following the July 2013 general election in which it came close to unseating Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Cambodian People's Party.

    The CNRP has long claimed that the ruling party cheated its way to a narrow victory. The official result was the opposition won 55 seats in the 123-seat National Assembly, nearly double what it held before. The ruling party lost 22 seats, and now holds 68.

    Cambodia’s political stalemate lasted nearly a year during which time leader Hun Sen levied a characteristically tough response: public gatherings were banned; several opposition MPs-elect and their supporters were locked up on charges of insurrection; and government thugs administered numerous beatings at protests.

    But last month, the two main parties struck a deal for the opposition lawmakers to return in exchange for, among other things, a greater say in the makeup of the Election Commission. Since then, the mood has relaxed. Even Freedom Park, the public space in Phnom Penh that Hun Sen closed for months, has reopened. Both parties are now looking towards the next general election, which is due in 2018.

    Opposition party chief whip Son Chhay says he is optimistic for the future.

    “This time around it has changed so much. I think both parties cannot afford to do what they please any more - the public is very powerful. I think they are watching the two parties very closely since the two parties are very much equal in support in this country, they have to respond to the public more than they just do what they want. In that regard, the performance in the parliament would be so important, and the deal to allow the opposition to do their job properly - it will greatly help. I believe it’s a very good beginning,” said Chhay.

    Voting by MPs to approve the new composition of parliament’s 10 committees started on Tuesday and should conclude Wednesday, added Chhay, who has himself been appointed vice-chair of the finance commission.

    The two parties agreed that the CNRP would lead and control the agriculture commission as well as women’s affairs, education, human rights and anti-corruption. The ruling party will lead and control the other five commissions including finance, defense and justice.

    Opposition members will also take six of the 13 positions on parliament’s standing committee, the body that sets the legislative agenda and oversees parliament’s internal rules.

    Chhay said changing the internal rules - including giving commissions the power to summon ministers - combined with the opposition’s control of the commissions on agriculture, health and others should result in improved national institutions.

    “Now we are holding all these committees. At least as [regards] the chairing of these committees, our members would be able to put more pressure on ministers in these areas to be more accountable to their work and hoping that they will serve the people better,” said Chhay.

    On Tuesday, legislators also voted that CNRP Vice-President Kem Sokha become parliament’s first deputy president, making him the most senior opposition figure in the legislature.

    Also Tuesday, the Phnom Penh Post reported that opposition leader Sam Rainsy would not take on any commission positions. Instead, the veteran politician and MP will advise some of the less-experienced legislators in his party.

    You May Like

    Leaving Scalia Replacement to 2017 Would Mean Unusually Long Vacancy

    History of high court shows Obama not in unique situation during final year of presidency

    US Fact Checkers Debunk Some Republican Presidential Candidate Claims 

    Slim evidence for several claims made by Republican presidential candidates at their last debate ahead of next Saturday's key nominating election in South Carolina

    Uganda Presidential Debate a Small Victory for Democracy

    In homes and bars across country, Ugandans were fixated on their screens as eight political candidates running for president took part in national debate

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Ugandai
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    February 12, 2016 9:29 PM
    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video Refugees in Kenya Vie to Compete in Rio Olympics

    In Kenya, refugees from other African nations are training at a special camp and competing for a limited number of slots in this year's Rio Olympics under the flag of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Ngong, this is a first in Olympic history.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.