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Political Negotiations Open With Agreement on Election Finance

Protesters gather to call for the release of 21 detainees in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, March 3, 2014.
Cambodia’s ruling and opposition parties on Monday agreed to create a law governing the regulation of financing for political parties, as they opened negotiations to end the longstanding political deadlock and in hopes of reforming the election process.

A joint statement by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party and the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party announced the initiative.

But Rescue Party officials say they have six negotiation points over election reform, including a recall election after losing in July in polls they say were marred by fraud.

Son Chhay, the Rescue Party’s chief negotiator, said more talks will take place March 10.

After discussing on all these points and see what else needs to be reformed, we will then start to take action,” he said. “For instance, like holding national conferences and public forum together, and what needs to go first and what else needs to go next. We will consult with national and international NGOs accordingly.”

Bin Khin, a representative of the CPP in talks, said a recall vote will be dependent on circumstances within the negotiations. All negotiations will have to be finalized through the National Assembly, he said. “Without the National Assembly, reform is impossible.”