Election Reform Sticking Points Sent to Leaders

The electoral reform working groups from the CPP and CNRP on Monday sent 10 points of disagreement in the drafting of a new national election law to their top party leaders to discuss.

The groups last year drafted a new law creating a new bipartisan National Election Committee and have since been amending the national election law, aiming to send both for parliamentary approval together.

Kuoy Bunroeun, the leader of the opposition party in the negotiations, said the initial February target for submission to the National Assembly would not be met and that the parties would now aim for March.

“Of course, it will be late,” Mr. Bunroeun said. “We have not reached agreement on 10 points.”

Among the 10 points that will now be sent to Prime Minister Hun Sen and opposition leader Sam Rainsy to determine include articles delimiting the number of lawmakers, election campaign lengths and election security.

The opposition party wishes to increase the number of seats in parliament from its present 123 seats, while the ruling party wants the number of seats to remain constant.

The parties continue to disagree over the length of the official campaign period, with the CPP’ seeking a 21-day campaign and the CNRP asking for 25 days.

The CNRP also wants the addition of a provision that “all activities for security shall not make voters and candidates in the election scared.”

Deputy Prime Minister Bin Chhin, who has led the CPP in negotiations, also revealed the ruling party’s stance on the penalty that will apply to a controversial ban on NGOs “insulting” political parties during the election period.

“The penalty laid against any NGOs for insulting would be 20 million riel [about $5,000],” he said.

Mr. Bunroeun told reporters the CNRP did not support such a heavy fine and would continue to discuss the issue when the two groups meet on Friday.

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