National Assembly ‘Cannot Meet’ Small Parties to Discuss Election Reforms

2 min read
Representatives of the four parties speak to the media outside the National Assembly in July. (Hean Rangsey/VOD)
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The National Assembly will not meet with four opposition parties who want to initiate reforms at the National Election Committee to address allegations of irregularities in the conduct of the June commune election.

The Candlelight Party, Grassroots Democratic Party, Khmer Will Party and Cambodia Reform Party have lobbied the NEC and National Assembly since June to meet with them and discuss potential reforms to the election body that would prevent irregularities that the parties, election monitors and rights groups had observed during the commune election.

After months of waiting, the National Assembly rejected their request for a meeting, with parliament spokesperson Leng Peng Long saying in an October 10 letter that there was no provision for the assembly to meet with parties that did not have any seats.

Speaking to VOD, Peng Long said there were no rules in the National Assembly’s internal regulations to hold the requested meeting.

“We can’t meet them, there is no procedure,” he said in brief comments.

Small political parties and rights groups have pointed to irregularities in the registration of candidates, voting day violations and intimidation of candidates to stay away from the election.

Thach Setha, a vice president at Candlelight, said they would continue to push for election reforms and would speak to the other parties on their next move.

“As I have said before, we will talk with the parties that have submitted the petition together about what to do next,” he said on Monday.

Korn Savang, a coordinator at election watchdog Comfrel, said that while National Assembly rules did not specifically allow for the meeting, it should be in the interest of elected representatives of the people to meet other political parties.

All elected seats in the National Assembly and Senate are filled by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

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