CPP, CNRP to Resume Negotiations

Senior representatives of the ruling CPP and opposition CNRP will meet this morning to discuss the ongoing post-election political deadlock, CNRP lawmaker-elect Kuoy Bunroeun said Wednesday.

Mr. Bunroeun said that he will meet Prum Sokha, a CPP secretary of state at the Ministry of Interior, at an unspecified hotel in Phnom Penh at 9:30 a.m. to continue talks that broke down last month.

“We hope there will be a positive result from [Thursday’s] meeting so then the technical groups from the two parties can meet,” he said.

“Then lastly, there will be a high-profile meeting where the senior leaders of the two parties can meet,” Mr. Bunroeun added.

Mr. Sokha could not be reached to confirm the meeting plans.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy and Prime Minister Hun Sen appeared to have come close to a deal in a telephone call in early April, with Mr. Rainsy saying that the CNRP could end its boycott of the National Assembly on April 11 if an early national election date was set.

Mr. Hun Sen said on April 10 that the July 2018 national election could be moved only to February 2018. Mr. Rainsy rejected the date but predicted that an agreement could come “in days or at most weeks.”

Mr. Bunroeun said Wednesday that elucidating the in-principle agreements forged between Mr. Rainsy and Mr. Hun Sen, such as reform of the National Election Committee, will precede any talks on more controversial issues like the date of the next election.

“Previously, we demanded that the NEC be a constitutional body while the CPP called the NEC a body stipulated in the Constitution,” Mr. Bunroeun said. “So I think we will find agreement over NEC reform.”

Mr. Rainsy said that Mr. Bunroeun will go into this morning’s meeting with a draft copy of a joint-party agreement on election reforms that the​​ CNRP hopes will be accepted by the ruling CPP.

“Actually, there is already an agreement on the main points,” Mr. Rainsy said. “But what is left to be done now is to specify in details, because the devil is in the details. It is not enough to agree in principle, now we have to discuss the ways how to implement our decisions.”

“We have put this in writing, and once we have agreed on that, we will move on to other issues such as the functioning of the National Assembly and radio licenses and the broadcast media,” he explained.

“Then we can deal with the most difficult problem, which is the election date.”

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