By Nguon Sovan
PHNOM PENH, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- The opposition boycott of the opening session of new parliament on Monday could affect the country's standing in the international community because the legitimacy of the new government could be put into question, according to academics here.
However, a government spokesman said that the new government would be formed in accordance with the constitution.
The country opened the fifth legislature of the National Assembly on Monday despite the boycott by the political opposition that refused to recognize the results of the July 28 election that handed victory to Prime Minister Hun Sen's ruling party.
King Norodom Sihamoni opened the new parliament session, which was attended by all the 68 elected lawmakers from the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) led by long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen.
As earlier announced, all the 55 elected lawmakers from the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) of long-time opposition leader Sam Rainsy did not join the opening session.
The CNRP claimed that the elections were marred by massive fraud and demanded for the formation of an independent poll probe committee, but the CPP rejected the request, saying that the move was against the country's constitution since the election results were already ratified. "Without the participation from the opposition, the legitimacy of the new government would be questioned and its role and image on the international stage could be downgraded,"Chheang Vannarith, senior researcher of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace, told Xinhua.
He warned that the Cambodian economy would face huge challenges if there is no domestic political stability and national unity. "In a political situation like this, both existing and potential investors would be reluctant or more cautious in investing in Cambodia,"said Vannarith, who is also a lecturer at the Leeds University in Britain. "If there is no peace and political stability, there is no development."
Professor Sok Touch, deputy chief of the Royal Academy of Cambodia's International Relations Institute, said the opposition boycott of parliament demonstrated the incompetence of Cambodian politicians in resolving political stalemate, adding that this would have an adverse effect on the country's foreign standing.
The United States, Japan, Australia and European Commission have urged the Cambodian government to transparently review the alleged irregularities in the July 28 national elections. "If these countries do not support the new parliament, Cambodia will face an economic crisis because those countries are main importers of Cambodian products, especially garments,"he said. "Moreover, investors and tourists from Western countries may hesitate to come to Cambodia."
Sok Touch said the two parties should continue to work together to reach a political settlement that could unite the country and best serves the Cambodian people.
However, ruling CPP's member Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, defended the legitimacy of the new parliament and government. "According to the constitution, a new government will be formed by a 50 percent plus one majority, or 63 lawmakers, in the new parliament," he told Xinhua on Monday."And the CPP has enough lawmakers to form a new government despite the opposition boycott." "The country does not have political or constitutional crisis, but it has the opposition boycott of parliament," he said."Their boycott cannot cause crisis or political instability in Cambodia."
He expressed his belief that investors will still come to Cambodia because they trust the country's political stability and sound economic development under the leadership of the CPP President and Prime Minister Hun Sen.
But Sam Rainsy, CNRP's president, said Monday that the opening session of parliament was a violation of the constitution and was contrary to the principle of multi-party liberal democratic regime. "The new parliament is the one-party parliament, it does not represent the whole Cambodian people,"he told reporters.
Following the opening session, King Norodom Sihamoni appointed incumbent Prime Minister Hun Sen as the prime minister for the new five-year-term government. "The prime minister of Cambodia has duties to prepare the members of the Cambodian government in order to ask for the adoption of confidence from the National Assembly," the king said in the royal decree of appointment.
In response to the appointment, Hun Sen thanked the king and vowed to put all his efforts to fulfill his duties in order to serve the nation and the people.
The premier said that he would submit the members of the new government to the dean of the parliament on Tuesday.
Hun Sen, 61, who has been in power for 28 years, will be sworn in for another five-year term on Tuesday.
U.S., EU urge Cambodia elected parties to continue talks
PHNOM PENH, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- The United States and the European Union on Monday urged Cambodia's ruling and opposition parties to continue their dialogue towards electoral reforms and settlement of national problems.
"The United States calls for a transparent review of irregularities in the July 28 national elections which would help efforts to assess and address flaws in the electoral process," a U. S. embassy statement issued after the opening session of Cambodian parliament with a boycott from the opposition party. Full story
Cambodia opens new parliament despite opposition boycott
PHNOM PENH, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia opened the fifth legislature of the National Assembly successfully on Monday even though the opposition party boycotted the session because it did not recognize the results of the July 28 election that handed victory to Prime Minister Hun Sen's ruling party.
King Norodom Sihamoni opened the new parliament session, which was attended by only all 68 elected lawmakers from the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) of Prime Minister Hun Sen and the 55 elected lawmakers from the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) of long-time opposition leader Sam Rainsy did not join it. Full story