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Election Body Reform Elusive as Negotiators Seek Agreement

  • Heng Reaksmey
  • VOA Khmer

Son Chhay, who is leading the negotiating team for the Rescue Party, said more talks will take place March 24.

Son Chhay, who is leading the negotiating team for the Rescue Party, said more talks will take place March 24.

Negotiators for Cambodia’s ruling and opposition parties say they have reached agreements on key points of election reform, moving past a potential breakdown in talks last week. But they did not agree on an overhaul of the National Election Committee, widely seen as biased toward the ruling party.

Officials from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party and the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party issued a joint statement following talks Monday, saying they had agreed in principle to 14 reform measures in voter registration, election financing and others.

Son Chhay, who is leading the negotiating team for the Rescue Party, said more talks will take place March 24.

“We understand that step by step we are reaching agreements,” he said, adding that the Rescue Party wants to see “real reform.”

The Rescue Party has boycotted the formation of a new government since making major advances in 2013 elections party leaders say were marred by fraud and irregularities.

Bin Chhin, lead negotiator for the CPP, said all 14 points agreed upon Monday will be discussed in future meetings.

Among the topics agreed on for discussion are voter registration, voter lists, rights of citizens, budgets for political parties, institutional reform, neutrality of civil society organizations, means by which political parties are promoted, dispute resolution mechanisms, neutrality of public officials and security forces, and others.

Hang Puthea, head of the election-monitoring group Nicfec, said agreement by both sides is a good step. He said he hopes both parties will reach agreement on more points in the future, including the reform of the National Election Committee.
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