CNRP Lays Out Four Sticking Points In Reform Talks

The head of the opposition CNRP’s delegation in electoral reform talks with the ruling CPP said after a meeting of the bipartisan working group at the National Assembly on Friday that the two parties have yet to agree on four issues in their drafting of a new election law.

CNRP official Kuoy Bunroeun told reporters that the opposition was still pushing for an increase in the number of parliamentary seats, the issuance of election-specific voter cards, stronger safeguards to confirm the identity of voters and the right for citizens to vote from overseas. 

On all points, the CPP delegation, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Bin Chhin, was refusing to budge, according to Mr. Bunroeun.

“So we keep these matters for the upper level to decide and we will continue to discuss other articles to speed up the talks,” he said.

Mr. Chhin said the parties had made progress in their disagreement over how voters will be registered for future elections.

The ruling party wants to allow voters to use their government-issued identity cards at polling stations, while the opposition wants the National Election Committee (NEC) to issue election-specific voting cards with fingerprints and photographs for verification.

The opposition says that using identity cards is inadequate beause so many citizens don’t have them; a problem that Mr. Chhin said could be avoided. He said the CPP suggested allowing people without identity cards to present themselves at commune offices along with two residents with proper identification papers who can verify their residence.

In the 2013 national election, the CNRP claimed that the mainly CPP commune officials who manage the voter lists manipulated them to the advantage of the ruling party, allowing some people to vote multiple times and leaving others off the list altogether.

The NEC on Wednesday issued a statement on its updated voter list for 2014. The revised list, which includes a total of 9,801,535 voters, had 108,800 names deleted and 177,804 added, the statement says.

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