Sunday, July 8, 2007

Cambodia unveils new National Assembly building

Cambodia officially unveiled on Saturday its new National Assembly building, which stands adjacent to a casino on prime real estate in the capital Phnom Penh.

King Norodom Sihamoni inaugurated the $26 million new lower house of parliament at a ceremony, which also marked the 60th anniversary of the country's legislative body.

The new complex, with 159 offices for the 123 lawmakers in the National Assembly, is 10 times the size of the one it replaced.

It is also next to a casino.

''It shows that the power of gambling is more influential than the power of the legislature,'' Son Chhay, a lawmaker from the main opposition Sam Rainsy Party, said.

''The lawmakers are now being looked down on by the casino building, which is a symbol of evil,'' he said, adding that he skipped the ceremony Saturday out of his disappointment with the new building being located next to a casino.

Some 5,000 people, including government dignitaries and diplomats, attended the ceremony.

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