Cambodia’s National Election Commission announced Tuesday that the ruling Cambodia People’s Party (CPP) will take all the 11 remaining parliamentary seats after the distribution of the vacant seats to the royalist Funcinpec, the Cambodian Nationality Party and the Khmer Economic Development Party, according to The Phnom Penh Post Online on Wednesday.
The NEC’s giveaway of the 11 remaining seats forfeited from the opposition CNRP after its dissolution at the order of the Supreme Court brings the total number of assembly seats to 79 out of a total of 123.
The CNRP held 55 seats in the National Assembly. 41 of its seats were given to the Funcinpec, two to Cambodian Nationality Party and one to the Khmer Economic Development Party.
Phnom Penh residents expressed dismay at seeing their elected representatives being replaced by representatives from the three smaller parties who were sworn in on Tuesday.
The swear-in ceremony was held at the Royal Palace, but King Norodom Sihamoni did not attend.
Keo Phearum, a 43-year old teacher, told the Post in a random survey that he could not accept the legitimacy of the new lawmakers who had bypassed the elections.
“People voted for the CNRP because they love the party, but people who have not been voted for received the position. I think that it is not right,” he said.
Tuk-tuk driver Thuok said the parties stole the seats. He added that he would not next year, saying the election is now useless.
But CPP spokesperson Sok Eysan sad not recognizing the lawmakers would have no impact. Likening the redistribution to an unstoppable force. “If you dare to use your leg to prevent, it will break your leg. If you use your arm to prevent, it will break your arm,” he said.