Prime Minister Hun Sen announced through a government mouthpiece on Monday that he intends to rewrite the National Assembly’s internal rules so that there will be no mechanism to hold formal political discussions with the opposition party.
The move to alter Article 48 of the Assembly’s internal rules, which the parties originally agreed to during negotiations after the 2013 election, would strip the CNRP of its parliamentary standing as the “minority group,” strip acting CNRP President Kem Sokha of his title of “minority leader” and eliminate the framework for political negotiations.
“If the mechanism that was just set up through new Article 48 (III) makes it difficult to work, including the attempts to use it for negotiating for the release of prisoners involving judicial power, we have to amend the new Article 48 (III) and return to using Article 48 (II) of internal regulation of the National Assembly,” Mr. Hun Sen was quoted as saying in an exclusive interview with the CPP-aligned website FreshNews.
Article 48 (II) made no mention of a minority group, currently defined as the nongoverning party with the most seats in the National Assembly, instead saying that a group of 10 lawmakers are able to come together to raise an issue during a plenary session of parliament.
“Doing like this is quick to end the issue because no agendas of a meeting needs to be set up, because this mechanism disappears through an already made amendment,” Mr. Hun Sen was quoted as saying, reportedly from Zurich where he landed on the way to the World Economic Forum in Davos.
CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said the message was clear: there will be no negotiations between the CPP and CNRP. Mr. Sokha and Interior Minister Sar Kheng were in the process of arranging a discussion, but had yet to set a date.

“Previously, we were discussing

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