Cambodia Opposition Party Threatens to Call Off Talks

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CNRP President Sam Rainsy (left) and his deputy Kem Sokha (right) wave to supporters at a protest in Phnom Penh, March 8, 2014.
CNRP President Sam Rainsy (left) and his deputy Kem Sokha (right) wave to supporters at a protest in Phnom Penh, March 8, 2014.

The main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) threatened Tuesday to call off talks aimed at breaking an eight-month political deadlock with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling party, accusing it of using the negotiations to cling on to power.

CNRP chief Sam Rainsy said his party would scrap the talks if the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) continues to reject proposed reforms for the government-appointed electoral body, which has been accused of bias and incompetence.       

“The CPP’s tactics seem to only buy time and to cling on to power by any means and at any cost,” the CNRP said in a statement to donor countries and institutions.

By doing so, the CPP is “jeopardizing the future of Cambodia, given that development and democracy must go hand in hand,” it said.

The statement follows three rounds of talks on electoral reforms between the two parties, which have been locked in a standoff since disputed elections in July, with the opposition boycotting parliament in protest.

The last round ended on a precarious note Monday after the CPP was unwilling to accept CNRP demands for an overhaul of the country’s elections body, the National Election Committee (NEC).

'We don't want to talk about other topics'

Sam Rainsy said CNRP representatives will not attend the next meeting scheduled for March 17 unless the CPP sticks to discussions on the NEC.

During Monday’s meeting, the CNRP had called for a restructure of the NEC, which oversees the country’s polls and which critics have said lacks independence.

“We are waiting for their response,” Sam Rainsy told RFA’s Khmer Service.

“Without their response to our request we don’t need to have other meetings, and we will suspend the meeting because we don’t want to talk about topics other than the NEC,” he said.

The talks should focus on electoral reforms and the CPP shouldn’t try to bring unrelated issues to the table, he said.

His comments follow a request the CPP during Monday’s meeting for the CNRP to support a law on tighter regulation of civil society groups, after voicing concerns about close links between NGOs and the opposition party.

At the end of the meeting, the two parties failed to issue a joint statement as they had in their last two rounds.


The opposition party said that it wanted the appointment of NEC members to be made by the National Assembly, the country’s parliament, and endorsed by a two-thirds majority of the 123-seat legislature but that the CPP refused.

After the July 28 polls, which the opposition maintains were fraught with irregularities, the NEC declared the CPP the winner with 68 seats in parliament to the CNRP’s 55, but the CNRP claimed it had won at least 63.

Last week, at their first meeting since failed talks in September, the two parties agreed to work together to reform an election voter registration process and review campaign financing procedures.

The CPP’s Prum Sokha, secretary of state in the Ministry of the Interior and a member of the party’s delegation to the talks, urged the CNRP to stick with the talks, saying they were the only way the two sides would reach a solution.  

“The stance of our CPP is to resolve all electoral disputes,” he told RFA.

“We have only one choice, which is peaceful talks. We can’t abandon any talks,” he said.

Reported by RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Samean Yun. Written in English by Rachel Vandenbrink.

Comments (3)


from Mass, usa

I have to tell you this that I love to listen to KPR and RFA. Why is that? It is so simple. Those CPP members and especially Hun Sen are so hilarious speeches. At work, I always put my earphone on and listen to those culprits party. I worked and laughed so crazy. My co-worker (american) wondered why I like to laugh? I told them that I am listening to the speech of Cambodian Prime Minister and their speakers that make no sense like a jungle man. I told them that whenever I listen to the U.S President speech, I feel so good and addicted to listen to. Every words, gesture, cloth they wear, and voice, make a complete sense and which make me stick to the speech just like a glue. When Cambodian Prime Minister "Hun Sen" starts talking, I also start laughing because everything are flaw, strange, down-to earth,clueless.

Mar 12, 2014 07:04 PM


from Mass, usa

I have to admit that the system of Cambodia is solidly strong that were carefully built to protect and serve their umbrella. This unique system is the eyes of the sky and the ears of the horizon. This system is the container that hold and tide all threads like military, supreme court, police, ministry, etc. I compare this system to the way how computer virus is infected in our pc/server. You clean it and come back again, until low level format the sector. So, to clean up Cambodian system is to shut it down and start up from scratch. To many none sense talkers blah blah blah and nothing done. That is why CNRP hold off the meeting on the 17.

Mar 12, 2014 05:29 PM


from Mass, usa

I listened to Prum Sokha (CPP) interviewed by RFA and that made me so mad because he didn't make any sense at all. He should freely open his mind, ears, and eyes and look what really happened in Cambodia. And listen more on how big democracy country leaders lead their countries and care toward the people. They listen to their people voices and act quickly to resolve issues and why not the leader of Cambodia? Enough is enough for all the talk that went into the loop that just to delay development process of the country. This country is not his asset. Just let it goes and let someone else drive the country. If new leader doesn't do his job, then just establish a new one. Not only him is smart. A lot of an intelligent people that really want to help the country. Stop craving for power and have some shame for other leaders around the world. Power hungrier will allow evil infect your brain and hate all the love around you.

Mar 12, 2014 05:04 PM





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