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Party talks ‘make progress’

Cambodian People’s Party and Cambodia National Rescue Party officials talk during a meeting over election reforms at the Senate in March
Cambodian People’s Party and Cambodia National Rescue Party officials talk during a meeting over election reforms at the Senate in March. Heng Chivoan

Party talks ‘make progress’

The opposition and ruling parties made good progress during face-to-face talks yesterday, officials said, with the reform of electoral institutions on top of the agenda at the meeting, the first to take place as part of a renewed push by both sides to end the political deadlock.

Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker-elect Kuoy Bunroeun said that his two-hour meeting with Prum Sokha, a Cambodian People’s Party delegate and secretary of state at the Interior Ministry, saw an agreement reached on election reforms that would require legal amendments in parliament.

“We have already agreed to electoral institution reform. [The CNRP] joining the National Assembly thus probably cannot be avoided.… But we must make an agreement properly beforehand and discuss together first to decide on what articles will be amended,” he said.

In April, Prime Minister Hun Sen and opposition leader Sam Rainsy reached an agreement on the overhaul of the National Election Committee – a key CNRP demand – but the signing of a deal was averted when the date of an early election could not be agreed on.

Yesterday’s meeting was just a preliminary step to a full agreement, Bunrouen emphasised, saying that more talks were needed to hammer out details on a list of 14 issues agreed to as reform priorities by the parties earlier this year, including the next election date.

But both Sokha and Bunroeun were optimistic that remaining political issues could be solved.

“The CPP believes that we can still find a solution, provided that we respect the will of the people,” Sokha said.

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