Thirty new parliamentarians were sworn in Tuesday as part of a CPP-Funcinpec agreement for those with posts in the new government to give up their National Assembly seats.
Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the National Assembly president and head of Funcinpec, said the replacement of 16 Funcinpec and 14 CPP parliamentarians required no change in law because all of the lawmakers stepped down voluntarily. He said the arrangement should help the Assembly run more smoothly.
“This is not the law. It is the parties’ agreement,” the prince said. “It is for separation of powers and to solve the National Assembly’s problems, such as lacking a quorum” during meetings.
The new parliamentarians were chosen for their positions by their respective parties.
The dual role of parliamentarians with jobs in government ministries has been cited as one reason the previous Assembly often had trouble mustering the 70 percent quorum required to meet.
Some Funcinpec lawmakers reportedly griped last week about having to choose between their parliamentary seats and posts in the new coalition government. Despite complaints, all those asked to step down did so.
Some senior officials in each party were exempt under the deal and will remain in the National Assembly, including Prime Minister Hun Sen (CPP) and Education Minister Tol Lah (Fun).
Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian Son Chhay said Hun Sen cannot step down because the Constitution requires the prime minister be a parliamentarian.
Son Chhay praised the move as beneficial to both legislative and executive branches of government.
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