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Political Reform Commission To Meet Next Week

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, file photo.
The political reform commission of the ruling and opposition parties will meet for the first time on Monday, seeking to address questions about Cambodia’s political process and to end a months-long political deadlock.

Officials from the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party said Thursday they will consider recommendations from local and international development organizations and partner countries to revamp an election process they say is rife with irregularities and fraud. But not right away.

“For the first discussion, the commission might negotiate about roles and the work plan,” said Yem Ponhearith, a Rescue Party member of the commission.

After that, he said, the hope is to discuss voter lists, the National Election Committee and the elections schedule, all with an aim of reform.

Development experts say Monday’s meeting is a positive step, following seven months of political infighting between the Rescue Party and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party that have seen violent protests in the streets and a boycott of the National Assembly by the opposition.

CPP officials could not immediately be reached for comment.