Interior Minister Sar Kheng, the ruling party’s chief negotiator with the opposition, has released a statement accusing the Cambodia National Rescue Party of an internal split over what concessions could induce its 55 lawmakers to take their seats at the National Assembly.
A statement released on Saturday by Khieu Sopheak, the head of Kheng’s cabinet within the party, says that CNRP leader Sam Rainsy called Kheng on October 6 before attending the CNRP’s “People’s Congress”.
“[He called] to confirm that the CNRP would stop demanding the position of National Assembly president but would want equal power sharing [through six] of the 12 total members of the standing committee of the National Assembly [instead],” the statement says.
“The CPP has not agreed to this new proposal because the standing committee … [is required] to set up meeting agendas and no meetings can happen without a 50 per cent plus one quorum.… Therefore the proposal for six members each will cause deadlock in the National Assembly and government,” it continues.
“Within the CNRP there are different ideas within the leadership, showing that there is still controversy over ideas and [they are] not taking responsibility in front of the voters.”
The party also asked the CNRP leaders, Rainsy, Kem Sokha and spokesman Yim Sovann, to decide on a united stance before approaching the CPP for further negotiations if a “fruitful result” was truly desired, the statement said.
Sovann rejected Kheng’s allegations of disunity yesterday and said the opposition would continue to boycott parliament until concrete reforms addressing issues such as corruption, land-grabs and living standards were pledged.
“The CNRP won’t talk about positions in [parliament]. The CNRP demands concrete reforms that can serve the interests of the nation and the people,” he said.
“If the CPP continues to deny our [reform agenda] decided on by our voters [at the People’s Congress], we will continue to boycott the assembly with our supporters and protest.”
Sovann added that the CNRP was ready to resume negotiations and waiting for the ruling party.