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Hun Sen Urges Adoption of Assembly Seat Number

Prime Minister Hun Sen has sent a letter to National Assembly President Heng Samrin, asking him to push for the adoption of a law setting the number of parliamentary seats ahead of the 2008 National Elections.

The National Assembly currently has 123 seats, and will should stay that way, Hun Sen said, despite calls from some politicians to increase the number in proportion to the growing population.

The number of seats must be set for the fourth round of national elections, Hun Sen wrote June 8, calling the situation an "emergency."

The number of seats has grown from 120 in 1993, but opposition lawmakers say more are needed to accurately represent the populace.

"Now the number of lawmakers is small, and the population is large," Sam Rainsy Party legislator Eng Chhay Eang said.

Hang Puthea, executive director of the election watchdog Nicfec, said the number of seats would increase "automatically" with the population.

"Nevertheless, I think the [ruling Cambodian People's Party] will still be leading other parties in getting the vote," he said.