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Opposition Threatens To End Negotiations

Sam Rainsy, front center, the head of the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) waves to the crowd before entering Phnom Penh Municipality Court, file photo.
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said Wednesday that he is considering ending political negotiations with the ruling party over reform of the National Election Committee.

The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party wants to see the NEC comprised of officials that come from a two-thirds vote in the National Assembly.

But that is a position the ruling Cambodian People’s Party has rejected in discussions by the Election Reform Committee, a bilateral team formed to end a political deadlock that had been in place since the July 2013 elections.

Sam Rainsy told supporters in a speech Wednesday that without a change to the NEC, “there is no need to talk.”

“Change the NEC first, and then we’ll talk,” he added.

Sam Rainsy spoke following meetings by the commission this week that have faltered.

A group of 20 NGOs called the Electoral Reform Alliance told reporters Wednesday it was “disappointed” in the failure of both sides to reach an agreement.

Chheang Von, a CPP lawmaker on the commission, said the opposition was “trying to prolong the time” in negotiations. The two-thirds vote for NEC members was not a part of the initial agreement, he said.