After the Cabinet’s meeting on June 24th, Samdech Hun Sen gave some responses to the press on power issue of the Supreme National Border Council (SNBC) citing it as a contradiction to the Constitution, his determination to defend the Constitution at all costs, etc…
… First of all I would like to share with all of you my pleasure to have the King Father and the Queen Mother returned to Cambodia from their medical check-up in the People’s Republic of China. You know that I did know about comments made by the King Father, and the declaration by a group with vested interest of their repetitive remarks that I have launched the Constitutional coup in the face of HM the King. I wish to take this opportune moment to clarify those issues of concern.
… First, the amendment of the Royal Decree (to establish the National Authority on Border Issues – NABI) that was issued in 1996 for a revision with regard to the current situation. It was signed by then HM the King Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk. Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranaridh and I, who were at the time co-Prime Minister, and then the First Prime Minister and the Second Prime Minister, were the NABI’s co-chairmen. As we have now evolved into a situation where we have only one Prime Minister, we decided to realign the NABI with the new situation, while including a number of operational officers into the authority.
… With the above information, I would urge those problem-seeking people to once again study the Constitution, the Law on Operation and Conduction of the Council of Ministers to find out what is the power of the Royal Government. As the Prime Minister, I would not urge anyone to add more power to my duty, while I don not expect my power to be reduced whatsoever. I wish that from now on if they were to make any comments about the power of the Prime Minister or the Royal Government as a whole, they should seriously study the Constitution and the Law on Operation and Conduction of the Council of Ministers.
… On issue of duty performance relationship between the Supreme National Border Council (SNBC) and the National Authority on Border Issues and the Royal Government of Cambodia, I wish to clarify the matter sounded out by an organization that the Royal Government has violated the power authority of SNBC. They suggested that SNBC is the supreme body of authority because it is headed by the former King, the Representatives of the Senate, the National Assembly, the Royal Government and the three political parties. My response on this matter is that even though the body is represented by Heads of those institutions themselves, it would not be made more powerful because it is stipulated nowhere in the Constitution.
… The Article 7 of the Constitution stipulates that HM the King reigns but does not rule. In the Article 17, it stipulates clearly that the Article 7 that says HM the King reigns but does not rule is irreversible. Now they demand that power be given to the former King as the representative of HM the King as Head of SNBC. I would warn them they cannot in anyway demand power be given to the former King, even if they would do so for the present King, they tended to be un-constitutional. As a matter of fact, the former King as well as HM the King has never demanded power, but those who have vested interests did. Cambodia is not Nepal in any way, where their King stripped the Government of its power. The King of Cambodia does not have a thirst for power, and even if they do they would not be allowed to by the Constitution.
… On the contrary if anyone would want to traverse this path, I would use all means no matter what it costs to defend the present Cambodian Constitution. They cannot demand power for the King, while the Constitution is not subject to any changes at all. Answering to the question how would the two – SNBC and NABI — work with one another, I think what was suggested by Dr. Lao Mong Hay is no different from what I have affirmed. SNBC is a consultative organ who would feed in information and suggestions to NABI for taking concrete actions. Take for instance, the Royal Government would be the one to conduct negotiation on Cambodia’s behalf or to go into signing agreements with foreign countries. The National Assembly is the one who delegates the power to the Royal Government to do so because before signing a treaty with any country or institution, the Royal Government will have to first ask the National Assembly for approval, and last but not least the signature from HM the King.
… As of now you would see that demanding power for SNBC is illegal or has it been stipulated any where in the Constitution that the Council is the body that ratifies, negotiates, signs or installs demarcation markers…? I am sure as far as the issue is concerned, both the former King and HM the King is well aware of. Based on the fact that the former King of Cambodia reigned 63 years, he would not be less knowledgeable on the matter. The problem here is that we have people who have proven themselves more Sihanoukist than the former King himself, or more Royalist than the monarchy.
… As I have clarified above there would not be any overlaps of works between the two because SNBC would be the one to give consultation on and suggestion to the Royal Government’s NABI, while the Royal Government would be the one to act at operational level. After all, it is the Royal Government, and not SNBC, who would delegate power to NABI to conduct negotiations. Therefore I would conclude that at any price I would defend the Constitution, while demanding power for the former King and/or HM the King would be unconstitutional to the Articles 7 and 17. It is unacceptable. /.