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Monday, November 20, 2017

Cambodia Bans Political Opposition Party

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/editors/1/cambodiabanspoliticaloppositionparty/
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Cambodia Bans Political Opposition Party

NHK | 17 November 2017

Cambodia’s government is facing an international backlash after its main opposition party was banned ahead of elections. The country’s Supreme Court ordered the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) to dissolve on Thursday last week.
Cambodia’s government is facing an international backlash after its main opposition party was banned ahead of elections. The country’s Supreme Court ordered the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) to dissolve on Thursday last week.
The court ruling cleared any hurdles for Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has been in power for more than three decades. The move drew criticism from the United States and the European Union.
The White House issued a statement promising "concrete steps" and urging Cambodia to "undo" its recent actions against the Rescue Party. The statement says the US will terminate support for the parliamentary elections scheduled for July next year.
The European Union echoed Washington's concerns. Its spokesperson issued a statement that "an electoral process from which the main opposition party has been arbitrarily excluded is not legitimate."
The ruling is also being denounced within Cambodia where an English-language newspaper ran the headline "Death of Democracy." Supporters of the party say they were taken by surprise.
“I was shocked by the decision,” said one man. “I never expected the court would dissolve the Rescue Party. I thought there would be some solution, or at least negotiation." “Democracy needs multiple parties. Now there's no opposition party, so it looks like there's no democracy,” said another.
The former leader of the CNRP, living in exile, has asked the world to put pressure on the Hun Sen administration. “We represent the people. We embody the popular legitimacy, so we continue to operate as a party that represents the will of the people,” said Sam Rainsy.

The Prime Minister made a televised address to call on people to remain calm in the wake of the court ruling. “This decision will protect peace and stability in the country. The Cambodian government remains committed to strongly protecting democracy in the country,” said Hun Sen.

Newsroom Tokyo’s Roselyn Debhavalya spoke with NHK World’s Hanoi bureau chief Akihiro Yokota about the developments.
Debhavalya: Akihiro, what is the atmosphere in Cambodia right now?
Yokota: Everything appears calm. Soon after the ruling, the Rescue Party issued a statement that describes the move as political-motivated and says it undermines democracy. The party is also calling on its supporters to keep calm, asking them to comply with the principles of non-violence.
Another former leader of the party, Kem Sokha, was arrested in September. Since then, about half the lawmakers in the party have fled the country to avoid being detained themselves.
But they are remaining active outside Cambodia, hoping to draw global attention to what is going on in the country. The party legislators who are still in Cambodia just have to stay calm, fearing a crackdown by authorities.
When we tried to speak to people on the streets in Cambodia about the issue, most were reluctant to comment. But many apparently think the Hun Sen government is going too far.
Debhavalya: What about the elections planned for next year?
Yokota: Despite the criticism from the global community, Prime Minister Hun Sen has declared the elections will go ahead as planned, in July of next year. If that does happen, the ruling party is likely to gain overwhelming strength. The Cambodia National Rescue Party was not only dissolved; 118 of the party leaders are now banned from politics for five years.
Prime Minister Hun Sen has repeatedly said the party's regional legislators are not subject to the ban and would be welcome to join the ruling party. The opposition parties are now likely to realign. But it will be a huge challenge to create a force strong enough to counter the Hun Sen government.
There are about eight months to go until the planned election. It remains to be seen if there will be a new political force that can win over 40 percent of the people. That's how many voted for the Rescue Party in the parliamentary elections of 2013. In the current political landscape, that could be very tough. 25 years have gone into building democracy in Cambodia, which now seems at risk.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:10 AM

    The former leader of the CNRP, living in exile, has asked the world to put pressure on the Hun Sen administration. “We represent the people. We embody the popular legitimacy, so we continue to operate as a party that represents the will of the people,” said Sam Rainsy.
    -------------------
    And what kind of pressure are you referring to? Stop being a cheap vague talker. Last time you ask EU to put pressure on Mr. Hun Sen by embargoing the garment import. When the garment workers were upset with your suggestion, you said, "I was only kidding, just want to scare Mr. Hun Sen in the negotiation."

    LOL...

    ReplyDelete