This upcoming election of Senate in February 25, 2018 and national election in July 29, 2018 are very questionable on its legitimacy as the key voters of largest opposition party CNRP (tantalizing of 5007 councillors) have been redistributed to other parties especially to the government-led party CPP and the dissolution as well as the banning of 118 core members of the CNRP. The excuse of law ratifying to redistributing seats (both law-makers in the parliament and the lower governance apparatus commune-Sangkat councillors) has been outraged by both the providence of such law amending and nationwide errs. More than that, the international community has ever come to shoulder to respond to this systemic crackdown on the state of democracy and human rights brokering since the first election in 1993 sponsored by the UNTAC.
The strength on his political manoeuvring of Prime Minister Hun Sen through the backing of China and the resistance to reinstating back to the original course from both Cambodian nationals and international community are likely not in equilibrium. Thus, pragmatists see that this imbalance will lead to an uncontested solution.
The Hun Sen’s Strength:
Prime Minister Hun Sen has been known for his relentless and successful manoeuvring the tactic of “divide and conquer” on his several political contenders. With the increasing of votes towards the opposition CNRP in both national election 2013 and commune-Sangkat election in 2017, the preparedness and implementation on the dissolution of this largest opposition party has been undertaken. There were no doubts on the amendments by single party (CPP) on several laws such as NGOs laws (LANGO), law of labours unions, law of the press and media (sic), and three times adjustment of the law on political party etc. Mixing his repeated warnings on war if he lost the election to these efforts on law amendments to sideline his opponent is a concerted effort to substantiate the facade of democracy in Cambodia.
With current state of international competitiveness, China publicly announced its support of the dissolution of the CNRP as well as other jailing and threats on the opposition members. The narrative of colour revolution has been made and publicized at large to apply the course of jailing Kem Sokha, president of the CNRP, and the judgement of the Supreme Court to dissolve the CNRP with the conviction of colour revolution to topple a legitimate government.
In hand, Hun Sen has comforted his zone through high ranking positioning of arm-force from his children, to relatives, and to closest loyalists, on key responsibility such as the bodyguard units, the intelligent police, the national police, the military police, and the army. The coffer’s pockets are full of loyal Oknha (entitlement of Lord to cementing patronage beaurocrats of oligarchy) and the key position of treasurers (money’s controllers) of his trust. The governance system of spreading his loyalists to key positions such as the Royal Palace, the Assembly, the Senate, and the Judiciary, the state’s human rights body, the state’s anti-corruption unit, etc., is tangible.
The Convincible Strength:
The dissolution of the CNRP and the redistributing all those seats is comfortably with no distress of reprisal is known as the physical “winning” of the battle while the destruction and violation on the rule of law as well as the disrespectful to the half-nationwide-population voice of the Cambodian people is the moral “defeating” of the war. The domestic outcry of the people levelling at the state of silence is one of the testimonies of their political maturity. They are silently ready to exercise their voice through secrete ballots. The international community representing over 70% of the earth surface has come out with concrete actions and action-plans to respond to Hun Sen’s manoeuvring.
Led by the US and EU, the sanction on individuals of the powerful elites of Hun Sen’s administration is not sufficient. The effort to call for the reconvening of the signatory countries of the Paris Peace Agreements is on pending. It is no doubt that H.E. Pan Sosak, Minister of Commerce, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen to tell him the truth on the impact of trade loss sanctioned by the US and EU. It is no doubt that H.E. Tuy Ry, Cambodian commissioner to the United Nations, wrote letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs on an invitation to join the discussion among permanent member states led by the US and EU at the United Nations this December 19, 2017. It is no doubt that Prime Minister Hun Sen has come out with different scenarios for the reviving of the opposition party by suggesting them to create a new party.
For trade alone, Cambodia can face trade loss up to 75% for its national revenue earned from trade. This huge wealth of exporting major garment and agriculture products to the market in the US and EU have fed the government, the mouth of Oknhas, as well as the hundred thousands garment workers. There are some explanations to seek substitutes to these losses, but in fact, the pain of individual’s visa ban and asset freezing widening to this trade sanctioning etc., is not yet substantial to the loss of political recognition and legitimacy at the present as well as the future.
At least, one year length that UNs postponed the seat of Cambodia during the coupe detat in 1997. When the political normality was turned to its course, the seat was returned. This time, the crackdown on democracy is tantamount that no one can underestimate the severe reprisal if political normality is not turned to its level.
Domestically, Cambodian population at large has emerged the youngest bulk representing 65% with under 35 years of age. This generation is self-determination seekers, rebellious to entrenching injustice, and championing of the political maturity. Nevertheless, Cambodians overseas who have been known for their advocacy and campaign for the Paris Peace Accords in 1991, have ever come together in the largest force to pushing for democracy improvement in Cambodia. On the International Human Rights Day 10 December 2017, they have travelled from different corners of North America in unison to the White House in Washington DC. to voice their concerns. Thousands of signing of Cambodian people signed www.change.org for the reviving of the Paris Peace Agreements. Legally, political, and economical, Cambodia government is an entity of binding with international community standard, this entity is not solely under Cambodia constitution, but no one can manipulate it for the sake of personal wealth and power at all.
Hun Sen’s recent action to dissolve Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) is a gross violation of Cambodia constitution and the will of the Cambodian people. This action is grossly against the spirit of Paris Peace Agreement. His move is to bolster his dictatorship. Beside of accelerating our petition to submit to the UNs during this December 10, 2017 of World Human Right Day, following are some tips to deal with a dictator.
A Checklist for identifying a dictator:
All dictators, past and present, follow a checklist of sorts to gain, and retain, power:
1. Frighten the population with talk of crime and social unrest, then present himself as the only person capable of protecting them.
2. Blame society’s ills on foreigners, immigrants and “others” who do not look, sound or act like himself and his core followers.
3. Control the mass media by disparaging any news outlet that is critical of his agenda.
4. Create distrust of the judicial system and any other governmental institution not under his direct control.
5. Indulge in character assassination against all individuals who oppose him.
6. Create his own narrative, with no regard to the truth, in order to obtain the adoration and unquestioning support of those sufficiently naive to believe him.
A checklist to respond to a dictator:
1. Using our purchasing power to boycott all products supplied by the dictators’ family, patrons, and networks.
2. Avoiding to join any meeting or gathering by the dictator or his networks.
3. Increasing on non-complying, non-cooperative, and voting out of the dictator.
1. Cutting all foreign aids
2. Imposing sanctions and economic embargoing
3. Cutting trade privileges and preferential duty free
4. Visa ban and asset/bank account freezing for all deposits of the dictator and his accomplice in those democratic countries
You are part of these check lists to teach a lesson to dictator of Cambodia. Please share more to drive our petition!
Op-Ed: Kyodo News
Cambodia’s Supreme Court orders dissolution of major opposition party
PHNOM PENH, Nov. 16 Kyodo – Cambodia’s Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the dissolution of the country’s main opposition party, in a ruling made ahead of next year’s general election in which the party had been expected to do well.
The ruling, which was handed down by presiding judge Dith Munty after a day-long hearing, also banned 118 Cambodia National Rescue Party members, including party president Kem Sokha, from politics for five years.
The top court heard the case based on a complaint filed by the Interior Ministry, which alleges that Kem Sokha conspired with foreigners in trying to topple the government.
Kem Sokha was arrested in September in a case widely considered to be politically motivated and is expected to be tried later this month, while around half of the party’s lawmakers have fled the country, fearing arrest.
Soon after the ruling, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen hailed the decision, saying it will secure the stability, peace and sustainable development of Cambodia.
Hun Sen, the prime minister since 1985, making him the world’s longest-serving head of government, said all CNRP’s members and their supporters — excluding the party leaders banned from politics — could join his ruling Cambodian People’s Party or other political parties. He said a few dozen other political parties remained that can compete in the next election scheduled for July 29, 2018.
Hun Sen also said that in less than two weeks, the seats won by the CNRP in the last national general and local elections will be redistributed.
During the last general election in 2013, the opposition party won 55 seats in the 123-seat National Assembly, against 68 seats captured by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling CPP, meaning all seats were won by those two parties.
The court hearing was held amid tight security to prevent CNRP supporters from protesting around the courthouse.
Following the decision, the CNRP issued a statement condemning the ruling, saying it ignored the will of more than three million Cambodians who voted for the CNRP.
The CNRP also said it will never recognize the ruling, and the CNRP remains legal as its members of the national parliament and those holding positions in local authorities were elected by the people.
Furthermore, the statement appealed to the international community to take action to rescue the opposition party so it can take part in a free and fair election next year, and to press for the immediate release of party leader Kem Sokha.
The ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights issued a statement saying the move demolished the final pillar of Cambodian democracy and ushered in an era of de facto one-party rule.
“ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) called on international partners to cancel their engagement in next year’s national elections, arguing that the CNRP’s dissolution effectively robbed the vote of any legitimacy,” it said.
“The Supreme Court has hammered the final nail in the coffin for Cambodian democracy. Its decision not only leaves the country without its only viable opposition party less than a year before scheduled elections, but also completely undermines Cambodia’s institutional framework and the rule of law,” said APHR Chairperson Charles Santiago, a member of the Malaysian parliament.
“One thing remains crystal clear: the CNRP was dissolved not for breaking any laws, but simply for being too popular and a threat to the ruling party’s dominance. Cambodia’s judiciary has once again proved that its main objective is not justice, but the furtherance of the Prime Minister’s personal prerogatives,” he added.