PHNOM PENH & WASHINGTON DC - Opposition leader Sam Rainsy has returned from a regional trip, where he met Asean leaders, saying he is confident they will help break through Cambodia’s political deadlock.
“Both parties must have a seat in the National Assembly,” he told VOA Khmer after his return Thursday.
Government spokesman Phay Siphan said “the door is still open” for opposition officials to join the Assembly, but they have so far refused to do so before a credible investigation into election irregularities in July’s polls.
The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party is calling for an Oct. 23 demonstration, on the anniversary of the 1991 Paris Peace Accords.
Opposition leaders say they also plan to call on 18 international signatories of that accord to help implement it, including the fostering of a functioning democracy.
“Cambodia today is defying the basis for the Paris Peace Accords, especially the principles of liberal democracy and pluralism,” Kem Sokha, vice president of the Rescue Party, told VOA Khmer. “We’re concerned that it’s not compliant with the Paris Peace Accords, which those countries have supported and helped us with so far. That’s why on behalf of the Cambodian people, we are submitting petitions to the UN and all signatory countries to help us.”
Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said the accords are a “political contract” that should be followed by those who have signed it. The abuse of the political system and the abuse of human rights are strong evidence that Cambodia is not adhering to the accords, he said.
“So if we have ample evidence, it makes it difficult for them to say no,” he said of signatory countries. However, he said, Cambodia has been sanctioned in the past, and that could lead to greater one-party rule of the country.
Phay Siphan said the opposition intends to bring other countries in to “interfere” with Cambodia’s internal politics.
“Democratic development should begin in parliament, rather than the [opposition] wandering outside and labeling [Cambodia] as having no democracy because of one-party rule,” he said. “That is not acceptable. What the opposition is doing is against national institutions, the people’s will and the king’s goals, as well as Cambodian law.”