Leaders of the CNRP say they started calling for a boycott in April when it became clear that they would not be able to participate in the election, despite key leaders stepping aside to protect the party’s legality in Cambodia. In February 2017, opposition leader Sam Rainsy resigned from party leadership after a law was proposed barring convicts from political leadership. Rainsy is facing defamation charges that his supporters say are politically motivated.
“The only way to delegitimize [Hun Sen] was to call for a boycott of the meaningless vote,”Sam Rainsy, the opposition leader, said in an interview from exile in Paris. “We didn’t give up on attempts to talk and re-register for the vote in May, but it was all falling on deaf ears.”
Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) supporters walk in front of the Samdech Chuon Nath Statue prior to an election rally in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Friday.
Cambodia cracks down on opposition election boycott
Mercury News / Washington Post | 27 July 2018