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Political Parties Closer to Deal on Electoral Reform

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, left, shakes hands with opposition party leader Sam Rainsy, right, after a meeting, as Sar Kheng, center, deputy prime minister, looks on at the National Assembly in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. Hun Sen and Sam Rainsy met for the second time on Monday in a bid to resolve a political stalemate, a day after violent clashes on the streets of Phnom Penh. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
Cambodia’s ruling party and opposition are closer to electoral reforms at the heart of their negotiations, but they still disagree on key language that would bridge the gap, officials from both sides said Thursday.

The two parties said Thursday they agree on reforms to the National Election Committee, but they still disagree on how the committee would be approved.

The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party wants the election body to be approved by a two-thirds majority vote in the National Assembly. The ruling Cambodian People’s Party maintains that a simple majority would be enough.

Kouy Bunroeun, a Rescue Party member, told reporters Thursday more talks would be held over the wording of the agreement.

Prum Sokha, a member of the CPP’s negotiating team, said the CPP “insists” on a majority vote.

The Rescue Party has boycotted the government since July 2013 elections it says were marred by fraud.