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Allusions to Post-Election War Threaten Cambodians, Opposition Says

  • Kong Sothanarith

Kem Sokha, vice president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, talked to VOA Khmer earlier this year. (VOA Khmer)
A top opposition official says the ruling party has threatened the opposition by stoking fears of war in the event of a win in July’s polls.

Kem Sokha, vice president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, told VOA Khmer it is an old method often used, but it is also a way to “threaten citizens” ahead of July’s parliamentary polls.

Kem Sokha was speaking in the midst of an ongoing public exchange of words between Prime Minister Hun Sen and the opposition. Hun Sen said in a recent speech Cambodia could devolve into war or a Khmer Rouge-like environment if the ruling party loses the election, a claim the opposition dismisses.

Kem Sokha said Wednesday this is a common tactic ahead of elections, in a media environment dominated by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

“This is a means, or strategy, to threaten the competition, the CNRP, and to threaten citizens,” he said. Such threats are meant to “confuse the public,” he added.

Tit Sothea, a spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said government officials had made no threats, but were instead making claims based on audio recordings taken from the opposition.