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.”