CNRP Says No Further Negotiations Without Investigation

CNRP leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha said Tuesday that the opposition party will no longer negotiate over the political deadlock with the CPP until the ruling party agrees to a transparent election investigation.

The CNRP’s 55 lawmakers-elect have been boycotting the National Assembly since it was convened with only the CPP’s 68 lawmakers in attendance on September 23, with the opposition citing widespread irregularities during the July 28 national election.

Mr. Sokha, the CNRP’s vice president, said opposition party leaders had decided they could not in good conscience continue negotiations with the CPP before it put in place concrete measures toward an election investigation.

“If the CPP still do not reveal the truth about the previous election, we cannot negotiate with them,” he said, explaining that the CPP was not trustworthy.

Mr. Sokha said that the government’s use of violence at a garment workers’ protest last week had broken an agreement it made in the last round of negotiations.

“We had an agreement that they would stop using violence, but on November 12, they shot at workers, they killed an innocent woman and they beat monks,” he said.

To facilitate the last round of negotiations earlier this month, Mr. Rainsy, the CNRP’s president, rescinded all the conditions he had originally set for holding talks with the ruling party.

He denied Tuesday that the CNRP’s new stance amounted to re-establishing conditions for negotiations.

“This is not a condition, it is a basic requirement,” Mr. Rainsy said. “We cannot move forward without first establishing the truth to see who the Cambodian people actually voted for.”

The change in position came after party discussions about the CPP’s stance that negotiations can take place only on the basis of the official election results, Mr. Rainsy explained.

CPP lawmaker and spokesman Cheam Yeap said any further investigation into the election was out of the question.

“The National Election Com­mittee has solved the dispute over election irregularities and other complaints during the election already,” Mr. Yeap said. “There is no law for a separate committee to find justice.”

He added that the CPP would remain open to any requests from the CNRP for further negotiations.

Mr. Rainsy said separately Tuesday that CNRP leaders had still not met to discuss the details of the party’s plans for a mass demonstration on December 10.

He said that both he and Mr. Sokha had been traveling around the country together and still had their heart set on a nationwide demonstration.

“There is definitely a strong demand for demonstrations all over the country,” Mr. Rainsy said.

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