Discussions inside the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) continued over the weekend on whether to withdraw from next month’s national election due to a series of disruptions on opposition rallies and the failure of the government to reform the country’s electoral process, a party spokesman said Sunday. CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said that a boycott of the national election is still “an option” and that party leaders would announce their final decision on whether to participate in the July 28 vote at a press conference on Thursday. “We cannot make a decision now…. We have to decide what our M.P.s [members of Parliament] want because they [the CPP] disrupt our meetings and destroy our sign boards, so this contributes to a very unproductive environment for elections,” Mr. Sovann said, adding that a decision by the CNRP not to participate would lead to increased international scrutiny on the ruling CPP.
“If we do not participate in elections, the international community and U.N. will not recognize this kind of government, so Cambodians will question the legality of the government and it is the CPP who will lose,” he said.
Still, Yem Ponhearith, deputy spokesman for the CNRP, said there was a good chance the CNRP would contest the election.
Kem Sokha, the acting president of the party who is currently visiting Tokyo, and Sam Rainsy, the self-exiled party president who resides in France, spoke over the phone on Saturday and decided that most members of the CNRP were in favor of contesting the ballot, he said.
“The Cambodia National Rescue Party will join the country’s election on July 28 but starting from now on, if there are still disruptions, fraud and discrimination we will not accept the results of the election,” Mr. Ponhearith said.