Cambodian lawmakers and other officials began two days of workshops
Wednesday in an effort to strengthen the roles and responsibilities of the
newly elected National Assembly.
More than 100 people met, including Senate and National
Assembly members and other international and national organization staff.
Participants discussed the relationship between parliament
and civil society, the roles of parliamentary bodies and the priorities of
constituents, as well as the role of the opposition in a democratic parliament.
“The Cambodian parliament will receive more interest from this
program,” National Assembly President Heng Samrin said. “During the next five
years, all members will face many challenges that require them to balance
the needs of their constituencies, parties and the National Assembly.”
The role of Cambodian parliamentarians is expanding, as
people’s representatives, lawmakers and those who implement laws by the
government, he said.
Past mandates of the National Assembly have been sharply
criticized for failing to fulfill their responsibilities, pass important
legislation or respond effectively to their constituents.
Opposition Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Mu Sochua said
political will of party members and leaders was required to separate
legislative, executive and judicial powers.
“The National Assembly right now does not follow the path of
democratic principles,” she said. “The roles of the chairman and deputy
chairman of the National Assembly committees were denied to the opposition.”