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Friday, November 29, 2013

Cambodia Opposition Party To Demand Re-Election

Radio Free Asia
The Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) will push for a re-election if Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government continues to refuse calls for an independent probe into widespread irregularities in the July polls, the opposition party’s deputy president, Kem Sokha, said Tuesday.

He warned that the party, which has boycotted parliament over the disputed polls, would demand new elections during mass protests beginning Dec. 15 to put pressure on the government to conduct a post-mortem of the July 28 vote.

“We want to send the message to the government and the National Election Committee [the government-appointed election body] that we are demanding the truth, and if they don’t give us the truth, we will demand a re-election,” Kem Sokha told RFA’s Khmer Service.

Following a mass demonstration on Dec. 15, the party will hold regular demonstrations every Sunday until its demand is met, he said.

He said the party was hoping to see 300,000 people—or a tenth of the 3 million people the CNRP says voted for it in the polls—turn out for the demonstration.

“We will make the [Dec. 15] mass demonstration bigger in all respects,” Kem Sokha said.

“After December 15, we will hold demonstrations every Sunday.”

The Dec. 15 protest will follow CNRP gatherings marking World Human Rights Day on Dec. 10 in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

CPP-CNRP talks

CNRP lawmakers have refused to join parliament unless their call for an investigation into the polls are met, leaving the party in a political deadlock with Hun Sen’s  Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) which had been declared polls winner by the National Election Committee.

Talks between the two parties have stalled after a meeting earlier this month yielded little progress.

The CNRP has insisted the talks must have on the agenda discussions about an investigation into poll fraud, resignation of election officials, and implementation of recommendations from U.N. experts and NGOs on electoral and other reforms.

On Tuesday, the chief of the CPP’s negotiation team Prum Sokha said the party was waiting for the CNRP to make a fresh move to hold talks.

“The CPP’s door is still open for any talks,” he told RFA.

But CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann responded that his party will only resume talks if the CPP accepts their agenda, which includes pressing for justice for voters, resignation of the NEC members, and electoral reforms.

The CNRP has claimed that election irregularities, including the removal of one million voters from the electoral rolls, robbed it of election victory.

The National Election Committee awarded the CPP 68 parliamentary seats to the CNRP’s 55 in the election, but the CNRP claims it won at least 63 seats and has called for a U.N.-backed investigation and led a series of mass demonstrations against the results.

Reported by Huot Vuthy for RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Samean Yun. Written in English by Rachel Vandenbrink.

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