PHNOM PENH - The Cambodian opposition says it will call for mass demonstrations on Sept. 7 if a deadlock over last month’s election does not see some progress.
The Cambodia National Rescue Party is at odds with the ruling Cambodian People’s Party over election results, following polls that opposition leaders say were marred by widespread irregularities.
In a letter to the CPP’s president, Chea Sim, on Wednesday, Rescue Party President Sam Rainsy said the opposition was requesting an urgent meeting among negotiators, who have met three times so far but failed to find a compromise over investigating the election and the formation of a new government.
Cheam Yiep, a lawmaker for the CPP, said it was too late to form an investigative team and that probes into irregularities would have to be done by the National Election Committee and the Constitutional Council. But opposition leaders have long maintained that the NEC remains biased toward the ruling party and is responsible for some of the most egregious irregularities, such as flawed voter lists.
“I don’t know what we have to talk about,” Cheam Yiep told VOA Khmer.
The prolonged political standoff and the prospect of mass demonstrations and counter-demonstrations has put Phnom Penh on edge.
In interviews with VOA Khmer, many residents, especially students, say they are hoping for a peaceful political settlement without the violence that has characterized other post-election periods.
“In my opinion, if the opposition party accepts the result a bit, there would not be a long discussion and the rumor of violence and civil war,” said Leng Putheary, a 24-year-old medical student in Phnom Penh. However, “if the opposition keeps insisting, the ruling party should establish a committee.”
Kim Marina, a student of management, said the NEC should organize a revote. “Those whose names did not appear in the voter registration should vote,” he said.
Meanwhile, in Battamang province, the National Election Committee agreed to disclose the contents of a sealed bag of voting documents, revealing a number of minor irregularities. The so-called Security Package A was opened from eight polling stations in the province.
Kouy Bunreoun, a spokesman for the Rescue Party, said many forms were not legally filled out and should be nullified from some polling stations. The Rescue Party had complained about 233 polling stations, but only eight were investigated, he said.