Cambodian Journalists Alliance Association

National Assembly Convenes Opening Session, Lawmakers Sworn In

King Norodom Sihamoni and incoming lawmakers pose in front of the National Assembly during the first session on August 21, 2023. (CamboJA/Pring Samrang)
King Norodom Sihamoni and incoming lawmakers pose in front of the National Assembly during the first session on August 21, 2023. (CamboJA/Pring Samrang)

King Norodom Sihamoni convened the first session of the National Assembly’s 7th Mandate on Monday, as the 125 elected lawmakers were sworn.

Outgoing National Assembly president Heng Samrin presided over the formation of the new government, as 120 lawmakers from the ruling CPP and five lawmakers from the royalist Funcinpec took office. 

The National Assembly is scheduled to vote on Tuesday for the National Assembly’s new leadership positions, appoint members to 10 different commissions and approve the prime minister’s cabinet, Samrin said.

One in five of the ruling CPP’s elected lawmakers are related, and the new cabinet is widely seen to represent a generational shift in power as the children of key government leaders are set to assume top jobs to complement incoming Prime Minister Hun Manet.

Hun Manet was already approved as prime minister by the King following amendments to the constitution allowing the party with the majority of votes to appoint the prime minister prior to the start of the National Assembly. Previously, the National Assembly nominated a prime minister for the King’s approval.

Hun Sen previously announced via Telegram that Khuon Sudary, former second deputy of the National Assembly, will become the new president of the National Assembly. Cheam Yeap is set to remain as first deputy. 

Outgoing National Assembly president Heng Samrin speaks during the first session of the new National Assembly on August 21, 2023. (Supplied)

Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Sauth, the son-in-law of outgoing National Assembly president Heng Samrin, will become the second deputy.

Hun Sen said last month that Ministers Sar Kheng, Tea Banh, and Men Sam An and Heng Samrin, president of the National Assembly, will step down their positions to become of the Supreme Council of Magistracy in the new government.

While there has been significant speculation around the expected new cabinet, the official announcements will be made on Tuesday. 

Outgoing Information Minister Khieu Kanharith posted a farewell to his staff last Friday, saying he was looking forward to serving as a National Assembly lawmaker representing Kampong Cham province instead. On August 16, Kanharith posted on his Facebook that he had met with Environment Ministry spokesperson Neth Pheaktra, whom he said would replace him as Information Minister.  

Outgoing Interior Minister Sar Kheng also announced on August 14 that he would be stepping down from his position, during a speech at the Police Academy of Cambodia.

King Norodom Sihamoni addressed the assembly, saying he believed the new government would “continue to support economic growth, raise people’s standards of living, and strengthen the social protection system.”

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