The National Assembly will vote on an amended law governing commune elections on October 20 even if the ruling CPP and opposition CNRP do not forge a deal over the parts of the law they disagree on, CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said Wednesday.
Although the CPP’s 68 lawmakers hold a clear majority in the 123-member Assembly and could pass the law as they wish, senior officials from the ruling and opposition parties have been negotiating in the hope of reaching a new law acceptable to both sides.
The two groups, led by Interior Minister Sar Kheng and opposition leader Sam Rainsy, respectively, are due to meet again today. If they do not reach a deal, then the CPP will pass the law on their terms, Mr. Eysan said.
“In case there is no agreement in the upcoming talks, the working group will send this to a plenary meeting at the National Assembly scheduled for Tuesday, October 20,” he said. “When a matter is sent to a National Assembly plenary meeting, it needs just 50 percent plus one.”
The commune election law has to be updated due to its multiple references to the national election law, which was rewritten at the start of this year as part of the CNRP’s deal to end its nearly yearlong boycott of parliament.
The two parties agree on most of the law but vehemently disagree on certain articles, with the opposition demanding that the existing provision for a 15-day commune election campaign remain.
The CPP is demanding a 10-day campaign, noting that the national election campaign period was also reduced.
CNRP lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang, who has sat in on the talks between Mr. Kheng and Mr. Rainsy, said he could not comment on whether the CNRP would abandon its demands.
“I do not know, so I cannot tell, since it depends on the talks,” Mr. Chhay Eang said, adding he believed today’s meeting would focus mainly on amending the National Assembly’s internal rules.