The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party will hold a seminar this morning on election reform to “seek input” from civil society and election monitors ahead of the second meeting of a bipartisan election reform committee on Monday.
According to an invitation issued on Tuesday, the CNRP has invited members of umbrella groups the Electoral Reform Alliance and The Situation Room to the seminar.
But while some opposition officials have said the ruling Cambodian People’s Party was not invited, Rainsy yesterday claimed it had been, and had declined to attend.
“They would not come tomorrow for two reasons. The formal reason was that CPP President Chea Sim could not come to a meeting presided over by the president of the CNRP … which is totally ridiculous … and the second reason is that what we are organising tomorrow is not in line with a previous agreement,” he said, noting there was “nothing [in the agreement] forbidding [us] from sharing information or asking for feedback.”
Chheang Vun, a member of the CPP’s delegation to the committee, said the CNRP should continue to discuss election reforms as agreed before consulting the public.
“He is playing political games like this for fun, and it is not good. We decided together already that on Monday we will continue to negotiate more issues and to set up what are the important points of an election reform framework,” he said.
“[We] have to take this framework to the table to talk and then [we can] ask for ideas from the public and continue more talks. This was a joint decision.”
While the CNRP said the diplomatic corps had been invited to today’s meet, the US, German and French embassies, as well as the EU delegation, said they were not attending.
On Monday, the two-party committee agreed in principle to overhaul the voter list and to a law on political party finance.
Hang Puthea and Koul Panha, the heads of election watchdogs NICFEC and Comfrel, said their organisations were attending today’s seminar, but Puthea added that he had urged the CNRP to postpone the event.