Thursday, August 1, 2013

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy agrees to talks on disputed Cambodia election result

 Auskar Surbakti in Phnom Penh and staff, ABC
Aug 1, 2013
Cambodia's Opposition Leader Sam Rainsy has agreed to an offer of talks from Prime Minister Hun Sen to discuss claims of voting irregularities.

After suffering the worst election result in 15 years, the Prime Minister Hun Sen has extended an olive branch to the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party, which has rejected the ruling party's results.

He also says he'd welcome an investigation into alleged voting irregularities, which has been demanded by the opposition.

Hun Sen's offer comes as as the opposition CNRP claimed that it had won Sunday's general election with a narrow margin of 63 out of 123 seats.

On election night, the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) announced it had won 68 seats to the opposition's 55.

Hun Sen has called on the opposition leader Sam Rainsy to compromise and to attend his proposed talks, which would look at forming a new parliament.

"I wish to stress that it does not matter which political party won the election - the important thing is that our nation won," he said.

"I have told three of my senior party members to negotiate with Sam Rainsy and I hope that the talks process will go well, but if needs be I will talk to Sam Rainsy by myself."

Sam Rainsy has told Radio Australia's program he'll attend the talks, but maintains his party won the poll, not Hun Sen's.

"We accept the dialogue, but the objective is to establish and expose the truth - nothing less," he said.
"We can move forward only once the truth is recognised by everybody, and the truth is that the ruling party, after ruling Cambodia for 34 years, has lost this election and there is a democratic change underway in Cambodia."

Hun Sen also says he's open to the idea of a multilateral inquiry into the election led by the country’s election commission in order to show transparency and to come to a resolution that everyone can accept.

Sam Rainsy says the Opposition wants the international community and the United Nations to oversee the inquiry.

"Now that the ruling party accepts to join in this committee to investigate, so we are ready, we'll abide by any conclusion by the investigation committee," he said.

"We would expect the ruling party to make that same commitment."

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