Phnom Penh: Cambodia’s National Assembly Friday approved an amendment to henceforth recognition a parliamentary minority leader “with a rank equal to the prime minister”.

The amendment was approved by a total of 102 lawmakers in parliament, Xinhua reported.

Ruling Cambodian People’s Party’s (CPP) lawmaker Pen Panha said the head of an opposition party, holding at least 25 percent of the parliamentary seats, will be formally recognised as a “minority leader” in parliament.

The minority leader leads the largest political party not in government in the National Assembly of Cambodia.

“The minority leader will be the dialogue partner of the head of government on the issues of national interest,” Pen Panha said during the session. “The minority leader has a rank equal to the prime minister.”

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Hun Sen, who was not present at Friday’s session, said the minority leader will not have the same powers that he has as Cambodia’s head of the government.

“The minority leader cannot order the armed forces, administration, and other government affairs,” he said, adding that the formal recognition of the minority leader is aimed at creating the culture of dialogue between the heads of the ruling and opposition parties.

The Cambodian parliament comprises 123 lawmakers, including 68 from Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling CPP and 55 from the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) led by Sam Rainsy.

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