Cambodian human rights and democracy activists in the US have split opinions on the deal cut between the ruling party and the opposition in July, ending a political deadlock that had lasted since the July 2013 elections.
In a recent discussion in Virginia, outside Washington, many said they felt the Cambodia National Rescue Party had betrayed its US supporters in making the deal with the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.
Vann Sar, adviser to Cambodian Americans for Human Rights and Democracy, said the news from Phnom Penh of differing political opinions of the two parties is cause for concern for opposition supporters.
Other supporters say they hope the Rescue Party will continue to push for political reforms—and to do so with the same dedication in the National Assembly as its supporters showed in demonstrations, even when they faced violence from authorities.
Neath Bundith Rithypul, who took part in the forum, said the Rescue Party’s agreement with the CPP was “a dangerous act for the nation.” Only mass protests will bring about change, he said.
But supporters like Soy Rasy say the opposition will continue its fight in the legislature. “The CNRP is going into the National Assembly to fight, not to join hands with the CPP,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Rescue Party continues to attend Assembly meetings and to push for reforms. Recue Party President Sam Rainsy says election reform legislation could be debated as soon as next month.
Election reform was at the center of a deal between political parties that led to a legislative breakthrough in July.