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Cambodian Political Talks Open With Election Finance Deal

Cambodia’s main parties have opened talks to end their longstanding political deadlock, with an agreement to create a law governing the regulation of financing for political parties

A joint statement by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party and the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party announced the initiative Monday.

But Rescue Party officials say there are other electoral reform issues they want discussed in the talks, including a recall election after losing in July polls they say were marred by fraud.

Son Chhay, the Rescue Party’s chief negotiator, said more talks will take place March 10.

After discussing all these points and see what else needs to be reformed, we will then start to take action,” he said. “For instance, like holding national conferences and public forum together, and what needs to go first and what else needs to go next. We will consult with national and international NGOs accordingly.”

Bin Khin, a representative of the CPP in talks, said any reforms will be dependent on the national legislature.

“All of the reforms will end up on the national assembly floor for debates. Without the national assembly, reform is impossible,” he said.

The opposition refused to take its seats in parliament following elections in July, accusing the ruling party of voter fraud.

Prime Minister Hun Sen, whose rule was extended by the vote, says the election was free and fair.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Khmer service.
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