CNRP Sets Date for Mass Protests Against Election Results

The opposition CNRP announced Wednesday that it will hold a mass demonstration on September 7 against the preliminary results of what it claims was a rigged national election, one day before final results are expected to be released by the Constitutional Council of Cambodia.

Unless the CPP returns to the negotiating table and makes progress in forming a joint committee to investigate the opposition’s allegations of vote tampering and fraud, the CNRP will go ahead with organizing protests, it said in a statement.

“If there is not a resolution to find a way to create the special committee for the resolution of irregularities involved with the election, as a last resort the CNRP will conduct a massive nonviolent demonstration against the election results on September 7, 2013,” the statement reads.

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said further details, such as where the protests will be held, would be provided at a press conference today.

Representatives from the CNRP and CPP have met twice—on Au­gust 9 and 20—to discuss the formation of a joint committee, but failed to come to an agreement over what group would lead the investigation.

CPP lawmaker and de facto party spokesman Cheam Yeap said on Monday that it was “too late” for the formation of such a com­mittee and said the CNRP needed to be “more flexible” in dealing with the victorious CPP.

Nonetheless, CNRP president Sam Rainsy sent a letter Wednesday to CPP president Chea Sim calling for the two parties to return to the negotiating table.

“Based on the spirit of the joint statement of team leaders of both parties issued on August 20, 2013, the CNRP requests to have continued meetings between team leaders of the CNRP and CPP immediately,” the letter says, adding that both parties should send representatives with decision-making authority.

With the last two rounds of talks ending with representatives from both sides agreeing to consult with their party leaders before resuming talks, Mr. Rainsy said by phone Wednesday that future talks needed to include top-level party officials.

“If talks are to resume, we ask the CPP to send delegates at a level high enough to make a decision. I don’t want to be specific who has the upper hand within the CPP, but I ask that they send any representative or delegate who is able to make decisions,” Mr. Rainsy said.

“If they send their top level, we will also send our top level,” Mr. Rainsy added.

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