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No coalition, both sides insist

CNRP deputy president Kem Sokha speaks to opposition party supporters at a meeting at the CNRP head- quarters in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district.
CNRP deputy president Kem Sokha speaks to opposition party supporters at a meeting at CNRP headquarters in Tuol Kork district yesterday. PHA LINA

No coalition, both sides insist

The ruling Cambodian People’s Party has invited the opposition to meet and discuss how the two parties could share power and form a government, Cambodia National Rescue Party deputy president Kem Sokha said.

Speaking to about 400 supporters at a voter forum at the party’s Tuol Kork headquarters, Sokha said the CNRP, however, was not interested in a coalition, and would not join a government until “justice is served”.

“The ruling party has invited the [CNRP] to meet and share power in parliament and in government. I would like to promise [voters] that the CNRP will not join with the ruling party. If we join, we would have the same fate as [former CPP coalition partner] Funcinpec,” he said.

“We must find justice for voters first, and only then will we take [our seats] in parliament and form a government.”

CPP spokesman and lawmaker Cheam Yeap rejected Sokha’s claim yesterday evening.

“My party has not sent a message to the [CNRP]. If that party will not join my party [in government], my party will do it alone. The CNRP does not agree with the will of the people who voted for 55 seats for them in parliament,” he said.

Yeap pointed to a 2006 constitutional amendment that stipulates only a 50 per cent-plus-one majority in the National Assembly is needed to form a government.

“You need only 63 seats, and [we] have 68 seats, so there is no problem. There is no political deadlock.”

In his speech yesterday, Sokha emphasised that along with a thorough investigation into election irregularities, the CNRP was requesting that certain political concessions and institutional reforms be made if they are to take their parliamentary seats.

“Promises that [say], come and join first and then [we] will change this and change that, we don’t believe [in such promises].”

He maintained that mass demonstrations were a “last resort”, but added that if forces loyal to the government attacked or shot unarmed supporters in the event of a protest, the International Criminal Court would “take action”.

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