Updated: 07/22/2014 13:41 | By Agence France-Presse

Cambodian rivals begin talks to end deadlock

Cambodia's strongman premier and his main political rival met Tuesday in search of a breakthrough in a year-long crisis fanned by the recent arrest of eight opposition politicians for insurrection.


Cambodian rivals begin talks to end deadlock

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (L) speaks to opposition leader Sam Rainsy (2nd R) at the Senate in Phnom Penh on July 22, 2014 - by Tang Chhin Sothy

Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has held power for nearly three decades, shook hands with opposition leader Sam Rainsy as their first face-to-face talks since last September got under way.

In a message posted on his Facebook page earlier, Rainsy described the meeting as "final talks".

His Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) has boycotted parliament since elections last July, accusing Hun Sen's ruling party of stealing victory with widespread vote-rigging.

Analysts say Rainsy's return to the negotiating table may have been spurred by last week's arrest of the eight CNRP politicians over a protest in the capital which saw clashes between demonstrators and security forces.

Rights groups have denounced the charges against the politicians, who could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

The CNRP wants sweeping electoral reform before new polls are held. It has previously rejected Hun Sen's offer to stage fresh elections in February 2018.

"The leaders will discuss issues including the arrest of the opposition politicians, reform of the election body and the (date of) a new general election," a CNRP official told AFP, requesting anonymity.

Hun Sen, 61, is regularly criticised by campaigners for ignoring human rights and stamping out dissent.

A crackdown on striking garment workers in January left four people dead.

Experts said last year's poll loss dealt a major blow to the CNRP which was adamant it had won the election.

However, it also represented a significant parliamentary gain on its performance at the previous vote.

Opposition supporters have staged several major demonstrations against Hun Sen's government.

Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn

NEWS VIDEOS

MORE NEWS VIDEOS

facebook recommendations

LIVE NEWS RADIO STREAMING

  • 938 Live

    938LIVE is Singapore's only English news and talk station which transmits round the clock with an engaging and enticing spread of programmes on current affairs, health, business and lifestyle as well as news every half hour until midnight.

  • Capital 958


    95.8FM城市频道的前身是"第三广播网"。上个世纪30年代末,新加坡就有中文广播,一路走来经过不少政治,社会局势的改变,中文广播在本地一直扮演举足轻重的角色。