Saturday, August 31, 2013

Cambodian King urges parties to tackle election row based on constitution

Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni on Friday urged the ruling and opposition parties to resolve their disputed election results based on the kingdom's constitution.

"Cambodia is an independent and sovereign state and has the Constitution as the supreme law, which is respected by the whole nation," the King said in a royal letter from Beijing where he has stayed for routine medical checkup since Aug. 12.

"Resolving national issues should be based on the Constitution and tasked to responsible institutions which are determined in the Constitution and other laws in the kingdom," he said in the royal letter, which was released to the media by the Office of the Council of Ministers.

He said the results of the July 28 general election would be officially issued no later than September 8.

"I'd like to appeal to Cambodian people to continue maintaining national peace and dignity," he said.

It was the second time King Sihamoni called for the two political parties to solve the contested poll results peacefully under the country's laws.

Initial election results showed that the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) of long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen won the poll with 68 of the 123 parliamentary seats, and the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) of long-time opposition leader took the remaining 55 seats.

But the CNRP rejected the results, claiming that it should have won 63 seats, with the CPP getting the remaining 60 seats if alleged poll irregularities were fairly resolved.

The King's royal letter came a day after Sam Rainsy set September 7 to hold a massive nonviolent protest against the poll results if the CPP did not resume talks with the CNRP towards the formation of a proposed independent investigation committee into alleged poll irregularities.

The CPP issued a statement on Thursday, saying that the party was ready to resume talks with the CNRP, but ruled out the possibility of talks on the formation of a special investigation committee since it violated the country's Constitution.

"Article 136 in the Constitution stipulates that the Constitutional Council shall have the right to examine and decide on contested cases involving the election of Assembly members and Senate members," the CPP said.

Currently, the Constitutional Council, which is the country's final arbiter, has been resolving complaints filed by the opposition party against the election results, but the opposition accused the Constitutional Council of being loyal to the CPP.

Under the country's Constitution, a new parliament will be inaugurated no later than 60 days after the election.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Aug. 2 that a new parliament and a new government would be established as scheduled despite the opposition's boycott.

According to the Constitution, he said, a new government would be formed by a 50 percent plus one majority, or 63 lawmakers, in the new parliament.

Hun Sen, 61, who has been in power for 28 years, will extend his power for further five years through the election victory. - Philippines News Agency

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