The CPP and CNRP election reform working groups met briefly at the National Assembly on Monday, releasing a statement saying that the draft Law on the Organization and Functioning of the National Election Committee (NEC) has been cleared by both parties for introduction to parliament.
Under the political deal cut between Prime Minister Hun Sen and opposition leader Sam Rainsy on July 22, the chapter concerning the NEC inside the existing Law on the Election of Members of the National Assembly is to be excised from the statute and turned into its own specific law.
In protracted negotiations that began August 11 and effectively ended in another deal between Mr. Hun Sen and Mr. Rainsy on November 28, the election reform working groups from the two parties then sparred over the details of the law, which is set to create a new and reformed NEC.
Emerging from Monday’s talks, however, the teams from the CPP and CNRP said the law has now been completely drafted and is ready for the parliament, and that talks have now started over changes to the broader election law.
“We completely agreed in the draft law on the meaning written in the seven chapters and 66 articles, so then we signed this note today to prove we have accomplished the draft law completely,” the CNRP’s Kuoy Bunroeun said.
“Secondly, the working groups today continued to examine the draft master plans we have exchanged for use as the basic foundation for the amendment of the Law on the Election of Members of the National Assembly.”
Deputy Prime Minister Bin Chhin, representing the CPP, said that the ruling party was now reviewing a new 13th chapter that the CNRP had added to its draft of the amended election law.
“When I reviewed their draft today, they added one more chapter concerning the Security Committee for the Election, so I asked what benefit there is putting this… into the amendment of the election law,” Mr. Chhin said.
Mr. Chhin said election security is already covered by Article 29 of the election law and that authorities at all levels are already required to cooperate with the NEC.
Once the election law is completely drafted by around the end of February, the two draft statutes will then be sent as a pair to the National Assembly for review and approval, both Mr. Bunroeun and Mr. Chhin said.