The National Assembly (NA) is slated to commence its inaugural session for the seventh legislative term on August 21 under the chairmanship of King Norodom Sihamoni.

This significant event is marked by the swearing-in of the newly elected NA members, to be followed by a vote of confidence for a new government on August 22.

The inaugural session takes place a fortnight after the formal declaration of the 2023 general election results by the National Election Committee (NEC) on August 5.

The July 23 election culminated in the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) securing 120 of the total 125 parliament seats, while the royalist FUNCINPEC clinched the remaining five.

But in an earlier-than-expected move that marked an end of an era in Cambodian politics, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced in a July 26 televised address his decision to transfer the role of head of government to his son Hun Manet, drawing a close to his nearly four-decade-long tenure in power. The outgoing premier then revealed his intent to assume the mantle of president of the Senate.

In preparation for the NA’s inaugural session, an August 18 meeting was chaired by its first vice-president Cheam Yeap and second vice-president Khuon Sudary, who is slated to assume the NA presidency in the seventh legislative term.

The progress of the preparatory work was assessed during the meeting, which was attended by NA secretary-general Leng Peng Long along with his deputies and various specialised department officials. The participants delivered reports on procedural tasks ahead of the inaugural session, discussing matters such as protocols, security and safety measures, coordination for journalists and numerous other duties.

The session will also see the presence of ambassadors and representatives of major national and international organisations.

“Our preparations for the inaugural session are in order, and we are ready to proceed,” said the NA in a statement.

Peng Long, who doubles as the NA spokesperson, could not be reached for further comment on August 20.

Hun Sen said in his July 26 address that the NA’s inaugural session would be convened upon the King’s summons, followed by the oath-taking of NA members.

“On August 22, under the leadership of the dean, the NA will convene, leading to the establishment of both a new assembly and a new government. Later in the day, members of the new Council of Ministers will also take their oaths. This marks a propitious juncture for the formal commencement of the operations of the new government,” he said.

Yang Peou, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said the session is expected to transpire seamlessly, even though it drew some criticism from certain Western nations and foreign politicians.

“We anticipate the attendance of all 125 NA members at the August 21 session. August 22 is designated for the parliamentary session, constituting the backbone of the NA’s activities and endorsing the Council of Ministers,” he told The Post on August 20.