Cambodia

On Burma Visit, Sam Rainsy Says Cambodia Must Reform Too

Speaking from Rangoon, Sam Rainsy told VOA Khmer that Burma has turned away from its dictatorial past and allowed its opposition leader to join parliament, file photo.Speaking from Rangoon, Sam Rainsy told VOA Khmer that Burma has turned away from its dictatorial past and allowed its opposition leader to join parliament, file photo.
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Speaking from Rangoon, Sam Rainsy told VOA Khmer that Burma has turned away from its dictatorial past and allowed its opposition leader to join parliament, file photo.
Speaking from Rangoon, Sam Rainsy told VOA Khmer that Burma has turned away from its dictatorial past and allowed its opposition leader to join parliament, file photo.
Heng ReaksmeyVOA Khmer
PHNOM PENH - Opposition leader Sam Rainsy is calling on the government to make reforms to its democratic system, much in the same way Burma has.

Sam Rainsy is visiting Burma to join a national league of democracy advocates, including Aung Sang Suu Kyi, the Nobel laureate who has joined the political process there.

Speaking from Rangoon, Sam Rainsy told VOA Khmer that Burma has turned away from its dictatorial past and allowed its opposition leader to join parliament.

“We should follow Burma’s example, because they have an opposition leader who is able to organize a movement to make Burma known, to enable the international community to put pressure on dictators there, and finally they have succeeded,” he said. “Therefore, we have to make a movement for the international community to pressure the dictators in Cambodia.”

Sam Rainsy himself is in exile, facing criminal charges in Cambodia he says are politically motivated and keeping him from participating in the July national elections.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said Cambodia’s democratic institutions surpass Burma’s, while the government works on a “three-point” strategy of independence, peace and development. “We’ve had democracy for a long time,” he said.

Critics say Cambodia’s democratic system remains flawed and biased toward the ruling Cambodian People’s Party of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Still, independent political analyst Lao Mong Hay told VOA Khmer that Burma’s reforms lag behind Cambodia’s.

“Burma is far behind [Cambodia], unlike the exaggerated propaganda on its positivity,” he said. “So far as I understand, internally it’s not positive.”
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Yearlong Political Deadlock Endsi
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22 July 2014
Cambodia’s political deadlock has ended. For nearly a year, the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party has refused to join the government, calling for electoral reforms in a system it says was deeply flawed. Following nearly five hours of meetings between top opposition officials and Prime Minister Hun Sen, that deadlock has ended. The two sides finally reached agreement on a formula for selecting the National Election Committee, which the Rescue Party has said was biased toward the ruling Cambodian People’s Party. Hun Sen and Rescue Party President Sam Rainsy emerged from talks Tuesday smiling and shaking hands. “Victory,” Hun Sen told reporters after the meeting. “You can all applaud.” (Heng Reaksmey, Phnom Penh)

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