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Talks on after TV offer

A group of protesters block a road in Koh Kong province
A group of protesters block a road in Koh Kong province yesterday to stop opposition leaders from passing. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Talks on after TV offer

The ruling and opposition parties will restart political negotiations today and discuss the details of concessions offered by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday as part of efforts to induce the opposition to join parliament, party officials have said.

Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker-elect Kuoy Bunroeun and Interior Ministry Secretary of State Prum Sokha confirmed yesterday that there would be a face-to-face meeting between working groups today to discuss the offer of a TV licence to the CNRP and making the National Election Committee a constitutionally mandated body.

Hun Sen confirmed that the ruling Cambodian People’s Party had agreed to both of those demands on Tuesday.

“We are focusing on the speech of Samdech Hun Sen, who agreed to this in principle. We must discuss more in detail and have an agreement that will address all issues to avoid interference [in the TV channel],” Bunroeun said.

He added that an opposition-aligned TV station – which would be run by a private company – would have the purpose of broadcasting diverse views and would allow civil society groups and NGOs ample airtime.

Sokha, of the CPP, confirmed that the two issues would be on the table but emphasised that they were part of what had already been agreed to during an April 9 phone conversation between the premier and CNRP leader Sam Rainsy.

“We have already sent documents to the CNRP. This proves that what Rainsy asked for is fine. We are waiting to hear what other demands they have.”

After the April phone conversation, Hun Sen accused Rainsy’s deputy, Kem Sokha, of being too hardline on an early election date and holding up a deal struck between the two leaders.

Analyst Kem Ley said that the premier was trying to push the CNRP deputy leader to finally acquiesce to that agreement. “The strategy is to push Kem Sokha to accept and to follow Sam Rainsy. Kem Sokha always disagrees with Sam Rainsy,” Ley said.

Separately, Rainsy and Kem Sokha were met by a group of protesters outside their hotel in Koh Kong province’s Khemarak Phoumin city yesterday. The party alleged that the CPP had paid the demonstrators to disrupt them, a claim the ruling party rejected.