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Cambodian Parties Agree to Establish Joint Election Investigation

Heng Reaksmey
— Negotiators for Cambodia's ruling and opposition parties have agreed to establish a special team to jointly investigate allegations of election irregularities.

The decision was made by a working group that met for two hours at the National Assembly on Tuesday.

Son Chhay, a lawmaker for the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, which has rejected preliminary results by the National Election Committee, said if irregularities are found by the investigative team they will consider what action to take against the NEC.

"We tried to find ways to have an investigating team that can find the truth and then that result can be useful for the Constitutional Council in judging, because our complaints to the National Election Committee seemed to be rejected and ignored," he said.

The special team will be made up of members from the CPP ruling party and the opposition, but the exact composition has not been made public. A date to establish the team has not yet been determined.

Disagreements over the results of the July 28 election could mean political deadlock on the formation of a new government and are stoking fears of post-election violence over widespread accusations of voter fraud at the polls.

The CPP has said it won the election with 68 of 123 National Assembly seats, a number the Rescue Party disputes.

Deputy Interior Minister Prum Sokha, a negotiator of the ruling party, said keeping the lines of communication open is important.

"The best thing is that we still meet and mutually talk. If we don't meet each other, it means a deadlock. Politicians are still talking to each other and legal and authority teams are normally working. I think it is nothing to cause a stalemate," he said.

Observers say the voting was marred by omitted names from the national voter registry, duplicate names at polling sites, and the potential for multiple votes by a single person.

The National Election Committee has said its investigations into irregularities are complete, even as outside donors and monitors have called for a closer look.

Meanwhile, the Constitutional Council is looking into 19 separate allegations of irregularities, including a number of complaints over the election results that are on appeal from the National Election Committee.

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