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Election Watchdog Discusses Parliamentary Expansion on 'Hello VOA'

Koul Panha, executive director of the election watchdog Comfrel, told "Hello VOA" Monday that increasing the number of seats in the National Assembly could have improved the representation of the Cambodian people.

With 123 parliamentarians in the National Assembly, each one represents 100,000 people, compared to a one-to-40,000 ratio when the government began, Koul Panha said.

More seats would fall in line with the law and lower the ratio, he said, discounting the opinion that the addition of seven more parliamentarians would add a strain to the national budget.

Several callers suggested parliamentarians don't do enough to help their constituents, especially where land-grabs by the wealthy are concerned.

The National Assembly was more active now than it has been in the past, Koul Panha said, but it needed to do more.

The National Assembly is an important part of a system of checks and balances that prevents the executive branch of the government from doing whatever it wants, he said.

One caller said, given the state of the National Assembly, adding more seats would be useless.