New Balancing Powers in Cambodia Parliament


1- What are the reasons behind the creation of the Minority Group at the National Assembly?

The Minority Group that groups National Assembly members from the political party outside the executive branch of government, is meant to be a perennial institution whose role, rights and privileges will be specified in the Assembly internal rules. On the other hand, individual Assembly members hold their positions for only a limited period of time corresponding to legislative terms. Moreover, in a recent past, individual opposition parliamentarians could be easily/arbitrarily deprived of their rights or even expelled from parliament in an authoritarian system designed to eliminate any form of dissent. Therefore, the way the Opposition is now organized as an officially recognized institution will make it less vulnerable and more effective and will strengthen the checks and balances system that is inherent to any democracy.

2- Will the Minority Group take away from individual opposition National Assembly members their current roles and functions?

Not at all, because the Minority Group, as an institution, will perform additional roles and functions that individual Assembly members are not in a position to perform.

Any individual Assembly member has a three-point duty: participate in the law making process, monitor and control the government activities, help the people in their respective constituencies. The Minority Group, as a collective body, has to coordinate the work of individual legislators who are its members; it has also to engage in a dialogue with the Majority Group made up of legislators from the political party inside the government in order to find possible political common ground for a harmonious work of the National Assembly. Finally, the Minority Leader is the dialogue partner of the Prime Minister as head of the executive branch of government, on issues of national interest.

3- While holding a rank equivalent to Prime Minister, will the Minority Leader have any executive power?

No. A “rank equivalent to Prime Minister” is a formal title that carries no executive power whatsoever. It is only an honorific and symbolic privilege designed to allow the Minority Leader, as the most prominent opposition legislator, to be a dialogue partner of the Prime Minister on issues of national interest, with the two partners being on a formally equal footing to make the dialogue meaningful.


One response to “New Balancing Powers in Cambodia Parliament

  1. Indeed the Minority Leader is an institution embedded in the Constitution. And that CNRP and CPP Leaderships which are initiating it. It’s a fabulous historic “shortcut” to the practice of democracy in Cambodia.

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