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Sokha urges King to take lead

Settling the political stalemate and finger-pointing that has plagued Cambodian politics since last year’s disputed elections may require royal intervention, opposition deputy leader Kem Sokha said yesterday, asking King Norodom Sihamoni to convene a “national congress” to end the feud.

The congress, the Cambodia National Rescue Party deputy president added, would involve politicians from both sides of the aisle, and the public would be in invited to attend the event – which would be held in a public place – or watch the discussions live on television.

“I would like to request that His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni create a national congress according to the constitution. In King Father Norodom Sihanouk’s time, there was a national congress. If there are any big problems, we can [discuss them at] the national congress,” he said on Sunday.

Previously, commentators and political insiders have speculated that a member of the royal family might take at least a symbolic role as a mediator between the CNRP and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

Chheang Vun, a CPP lawmaker and National Assembly spokesman, dismissed Sokha’s comments as a publicity stunt.

“I do not want to respond. Politicians have never done [something] like this, I do not want to debate . . . with his group. The country needs to join and work together,” he said.

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