The ruling CPP and opposition CNRP will each send six of their top officials to the National Assembly on Monday in hopes of breaking the political impasse over July’s national election, which both parties are still claiming to have won.
The CNRP announced the meeting during a press conference at the party’s Meanchey district offices this morning, only hours after Prime Minister Hun Sen and CNRP president Sam Rainsy had briefly met at the Royal Palace at the invitation of King Norodom Sihamoni.
“On Monday at 9 o’clock there will be a summit between the two political parties at the National Assembly,” CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said. “The main objective of this summit will be to solve the current political deadlock.”
The meeting will fall exactly one week before the King is scheduled to convene the first session of parliament since the July 28 vote, which remains marred by unresolved reports of widespread voting irregularities. The CNRP has threatened to boycott the opening unless the government agrees to an impartial investigation of the irregularities, which the party claims robbed it of victory.
Mr. Rainsy declined to say whether the opposition still intended to go through with the threat.
“His Majesty told us that the two political parties should continue having talks,” he said of their morning meeting at the Royal Palace. “His Majesty also clarified that His Majesty will call on elected leaders to have the first meeting of the National Assembly on September 23.”
However, Mr. Sovann said the CNRP was still going ahead with a mass demonstration against the election results set to begin Sunday in Phnom Penh and last three days.
“We will ask the citizens attending the demonstration for their opinion on what they want and let them offer recommendations to the CNRP leaders so that we can negotiate and talk with the CPP leaders,” he said.
CNRP vice president Kem Sokha said Mr. Rainsy, lawmaker-elect Pol Ham and himself would lead the opposition’s delegation to Monday’s meeting.
Lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, confirmed Monday’s meeting and the CPP’s plans to attend.
“The two parties will meet each other on the 16th at 9 a.m. at the National Assembly,” he said.
“It’s a discussion…on the results of the election,” he added, but declined to elaborate.
Lt. Gen. Sopheak said the plan was for each party to send three negotiators accompanied by three assistants, and that the CPP’s delegation would include Mr. Hun Sen, Interior Minister Sar Kheng and party secretary-general Say Chhum.