The National United Front has set a deadline of May 18 for the government to meet four conditions it says are necessary for free and fair elections.
If the election requirements are not met by then, “we will not participate,” said NUF co-President Sam Rainsy.
Asked whether he meant the coalition would boycott the elections if their deadline is not heeded, Sam Rainsy responded, “Yes, we will.”
The coalition—made up of Funcinpec, the Son Sann Party, the Sam Rainsy Party and the Cambodian Neutral Party—demands:
• that the electoral law be amended to dictate ballot counting at the district or provincial level instead of the village level;
• that the National Election Committee be changed “to include true representatives from opposition parties and non-governmental organizations.” The Funcinpec representative to the NEC, former defense co-minister Tea Chamrath, was not approved by Funcinpec president Prince Norodom Ranariddh;
• that the Constitutional Council be formed and active;
• that all “major political parties” be granted radio or television licenses. State-run media and the major television and radio stations are run either by the government or by private companies that are close to the CPP.
All the conditions must be met by May 18, the newly suggested date for the start of voter registration, according to a statement from the NUF.
The conditions are strict, and will be difficult to achieve within the three weeks the NUF has stipulated, said Lao Mong Hay, executive director of the Khmer Institute for Democracy.
(Additional reporting by Debra Boyce)