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Rainsy’s Resignation Begins New Chapter
As the article “Rainsy Quits Amid Threat, But CNRP Still in Danger” (February 13) notes, Sam Rainsy resigned as president of the CNRP to save his party from dissolution at the hands of Prime Minister Hun Sen-with commune election coming in June and the national election next year.
Academics see Mr. Hun Sen’s non-stop obsession to divide and weaken the CNRP as a pre-emptive tactic before the elections, ensuring his preferred outcome. His activities have surpassed all efforts to reform and destroyed what good might have come of it.
Mr. Rainsy has laid out an inclusive policy to include Cambodians overseas, especially millions of migrant workers, to be able to vote, as opposed to Mr. Hun Sen who has advocated to exclude them.
Apart from his personal integrity and genuine patriotism, Mr. Rainsy is clear and intelligent in handling political truces with Mr. Hun Sen. With more than 23 years experience in leading opposition party, his effort paid off in 2013. Seas of people gathered in tsunamic-like crowd to welcome him back home at the airport a few days prior to the national election, which the CNRP nearly won.
From now on, Mr. Rainsy will be an icon of change and idealistic pragmatism in Cambodia. His political career is not over. As long as Cambodian people, especially younger voters, remain supportive of his decadeslong struggle, his vision for Cambodia will cease to be a dream.
Sophan Seng is executive director of the Committee for Election Rights of Overseas Cambodians.
FOR RELEASE: Congressmen Lowenthal and Chabot Call On Secretary Of State Tillerson To Ensure Free And Fair Cambodian Elections
- Could Hun Sen achieve his attempts to stifle opposition party CNRP by dissolving this party through new law amendment proposal on political party, or his unrivalled attempts to undermine the National Election Committee (NEC)?
- Could anyone understand that the latest Machiavellian style Hun Sen has been materializing is a sign to call for a mediation for power sharing?
In a letter, the Congressmen state that the U.S. State Department can play a critical role by communicating to the Cambodian government of Prime Minister Hun Sen the importance of holding elections deemed credible by the international community.
The Congressmen also highlight the passage by the House last year of their resolution, H.Res.728, which established the House’s official support for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in Cambodia. The resolution noted numerous instances of opposition party members in Cambodia being harassed by the country’s long-ruling regime, as well as widespread reports of irregularities in the 2013 national elections which resulted in the Hun Sen regime narrowly maintaining its hold on power.
The letter details recent acts of political oppression by the Hun Sen government, including the politically-motivated criminal investigations and charges against the senior officials of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP). Sam Rainsy, head of the CNRP, was forced to leave Cambodia and is forbidden from returning, while CNRP deputy leader Kem Sokha was kept under virtual house arrest for months within the party’s headquarters. There have also been recent reports that the Hun Sen government is pursuing a legislative proposal that would effectively dissolve the opposition party.
The letter closes by emphasizing that, “In order to foster a political environment where this is possible, the Cambodian government must immediately drop all politically-motivated charges against opposition leaders, cease harassment of the CNRP, allow Sam Rainsy to freely return to the country, and allow independent election observers at all polling places.”
Congressman Alan Lowenthal represents the cities of Long Beach, Lakewood, Signal Hill, Avalon, Los Alamitos, Rossmoor, Cypress, Westminster, Garden Grove, Buena Park, Anaheim, Midway City and Stanton in California’s 47th Congressional District. He can be followed on Facebook, Twitter, or his website.
Communications Director | Congressman Alan Lowenthal
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