US Asks Parties to ‘Work Together’ for the People

The U.S. State Department on Tuesday called for the ruling CPP and opposition CNRP to “work together” and repeated its call for a transparent review of irregularities in July’s national election.

“The United States urges leaders of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and the CNRP to work together to resolve differences in a way that serves the best interests of the Cambodian people,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.

The statement follows Monday’s opening of the National Assembly, where only CPP lawmakers were in attendance. The CNRP boycotted the ceremony because it wants an independent investigation into election irregularities.

“The United States has an interest in the democratic process, but does not support any particular political party or individuals. In that context, we continue to believe there should be a credible and transparent review of irregularities in the July elections to assess and address flaws in the electoral process and give the Cambodian people greater confidence in the electoral system. We urge all parties to seize this opportunity to improve democratic processes and implement meaningful reforms, which strengthen the rule of law and increase respect for human rights,” the statement continues.

Despite the renewed calls for an independent investigation, CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said Wednesday that the election irregularities had already been solved.

“They should understand Cambodian law,” he said of the State Department remarks. “The safety boxes were opened. No one stole their vote. If the CPP would have stolen votes, we would get 122 seats, but we only got 68, down from 90 seats. The State Department should do their research and not let the CNRP use the CPP as their pretext.”

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said the CPP “welcomes” the U.S.’ recommendation for both parties to work together and also wanted to see the CNRP in parliament.

“As Cambodians, we are so welcomed to that recommendation, and the P.M. [Hun Sen] repeatedly has publicly asked the CNRP to sit in the National Assembly. We don’t have any position against the CNRP. We see them as a partner. We welcome them,” he said.

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