CPP Rejects New NGO Proposal to Break Election Impasse

The CPP on Monday quickly dismissed the latest proposal from NGOs aimed at breaking the political impasse over how to investigate irregularities surrounding last month’s contested national election.

To break the deadlock, the NGOs, who have dubbed the group they formed to monitor the election the Situation Room, on Monday morning recommended that an investigation committee should be made up of both parties, and with each side regularly rotating the chairmanship of the body.

The recommendations also state that the National Election Committee (NEC) act as a coordinator for the committee and carry out acts such as scheduling meeting places and storing meeting minutes. They also said that the committee should include the U.N. and other international organizations in an observer role.

Koul Panha, executive director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia, said the NGOs decided the proposal was the best way forward and was intended as a compromise.

“The CPP don’t want the U.N. to play that role, so it’s not realistic. They want the NEC. But the CNRP don’t really trust them,” he said.

“Otherwise we need some independent organization, but it’s not easy,” Mr. Panha added.

The opposition CNRP plans to hold a protest on September 7 unless the government agrees to an independent investigation of the July 28 vote.

The CPP has rejected the opposition’s wish to let the U.N. lead the investigation and insists that any and all probes of the election be lead by the NEC and Constitutional Council of Cambodia, both of which the opposition has dismissed as in league with the ruling CPP.

With the NEC scheduled to release final election results by September 8 and all but guaranteed to give the CPP the win, Mr. Panha suggested that the two parties rotate chairmanship of the envisioned committee every day.

But CPP senior lawmaker and de facto party spokesman Cheam Yeap was quick to dismiss the proposal Monday.

“I think that if we talk about creating it, it seems too late,” he said, adding that the CPP was still open to holding talks with the opposition.

“If there is a request from His Excellency Sam Rainsy to the top leaders of my party, I think we will have a meeting at any time, but I don’t know about the date,” Mr. Yeap said.

At a CNRP press conference Monday morning, party president Sam Rainsy said he was waiting to hear back from the CPP on his proposal that top officials from both parties meet very soon to discuss a solution to their present impasse.

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