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Parties leaders to finalize amendments

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Protests after last year’s election. (Photo: Reuters)

PHNOM PENH, (Khmer Times) – Working groups have agreed on 95% of the amendments, but the date of the oath-taking is still “until further notice.”  
Leaders of the  Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) will meet again to discuss the “autonomy” of the election committee.
CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said, “The date of the oath taking ceremony is uncertain. Until the constitutional and electoral amendments have been agreed upon, we cannot set a date for the swearing-in.”
He added that the four CNRP members to join the NEC will be chosen after the amendments are ratified.
Sok Eysan, CPP lawmaker, after more than four hours of negotiations, said that the remaining points are related to the autonomy of the National Election Committee (NEC)’s work would be put forward to  the high level discussion. It is not about the NEC’s budget autonomy.
“We have discussed  the immunity [of the NEC member] very thoroughly. Based on international and national law, immunity [is] only [granted] to the King or Head of state, parliament [members], and diplomats,” he said.
The meeting was held following an exchange of letters between CNRP president, Sam Rainsy, and Sar Keng, minister of interior. 
On Thursday, Sar Kheng answered Sam Rainsy and attached a CPP proposed constitutional amendment. It is based upon the spirit of the discussion between the parties’ working groups on July 29. 
Sam Rainsy previously requested that the nine members of the NEC shall have immunity as lawmakers in the National Assembly. But, alas, the ruling party was of the opposite opinion.
This morning, the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL) revealed their proposed amendments. The criteria for the chairperson and vice chairperson are:  he/she cannot be a member of the government, nor of the armed forces, nor a member of a parliamentarian’s family. 

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