CNRP Policy Manifesto, Political Maturity, and Its Relevancy

Today, I am keen to write in length after hearing direct press conference of HE Yim Sovann on four outstanding summaries he articulated thoughtfully within those 16 minutes.  First, the important framework of “party policy manifesto”; secondly, tasks within parliamentary meeting session on national budget drafting; thirdly, the slow investigation of authority on the murder of Dr. Kem Ley which has prevailed intractable impunity; fourth, CNRP’s heads of commissions shall summon at least three ministers namely Minister of Interior HE Sar Kheng, Minister of Agriculture HE Veng Sakhon, and Minister of Mines and Energy HE Suy Sem to come to the Assembly.

The Challenges of CNRP to Undertake Parliamentarian Tasks and Core Policies:

Since the coalition was made, I ever predicted the difficult tasks to undertake key policies of the party aiming to take high responsibility as the biggest opposition party in Cambodia. The marrying between SRP and HRP has not been easy to mobilize force although each party placed the same goal for nation-building. From top to bottom, there are differences in political approaches, integrity, experiences, maturity, and workmanship. Many MPs from HRP pole took severe confrontational approach aiming to overcome the power of Hun Sen. HE Kem Sokha is observed by his uncertainty in fulfilling his key task as first vice president of the national Assembly, and he was likely pushed to compete for political popularity with his President, HE Sam Rainsy. Many amended laws to allowing some level-playing field for CNRP have been stagnant. Furthering to the dismissal of HE Kem Sokha from 1st Vice President of the Assembly, the creation of minority leader of the assembly with his cabinet, office, and budget, is not yet materialized. The aims of going back to the Assembly of all 55 law-makers of CNRP were full of hope to bring changes of all fields particularly the effective Assembly. But with an attempt to weaken this force by Prime Minister Hun Sen including the less experience of CNRP law-makers, the Assembly has been seen inactive during these two years. There are several mechanisms that 55 law-makers of CNRP can influence Assembly as well as the government leadership such as undertaking chapter 98 (new) of Constitution properly, 7 heads of commissioner in the Assembly from CNRP could pay much attention to produce policies for constructive criticism towards the government as well as to prepare itself to be the government, 1st Vice President of the Assembly, legal recognition of loyal opposition party, and the creation of Minority Leader in the Assembly etc.

Crafting core policy or being called “policy manifesto” is essential to drive both soft and hard skills towards goal-setting. An effective policy, according to policy theorists, has always focused on: robustness, efficiency, costs effective, political acceptability, and administrative feasibility etc. Many policy analysis has taken SWOT or Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats, as their core value to judge a policy is effective or not effective.

Courtesy: Phnom Penh Post
Courtesy: Phnom Penh Post

Recently, the Permanent Committee (PC) of CNRP decided to establish shadow leadership for effective criticism by appointing HE Son Chhay as leader and appointing other key commission leaders for 10 different commissions(picture attached here) to ensure effective criticism are materialized. Thus, those 10 leaders seem busy with meeting local supporters more than penning policy framework, writing proposals, and implementing it according to duties and status of these new commissioning.

 

No More Power Competing Internally:

As many people requested, now it is time for the two parties leaders ie. HE Sam Rainsy and HE Kem cambodia-leadership-skillsSokha relinquish the competition by not positioning themselves as SRP and HRP any more. Now, they both are part of CNRP which has framed its smooth hierarchy and political bureaucracy on whom is President and whom is Vice President. The scores of latest public denouncement by some of the party’s prestigious member(s) towards their top leader(s) is not fun at all. All internal criticism according to democracy must be happened within its core framework of constructiveness and majorly within its circle executive members. Today, the “policy manifesto” is laid out and it must be properly implemented; tomorrow, the internal by-laws or party’s statute must be put in place. Those policy, platforms, or by-laws, must not just simply printed and handed over to members, the coaching team must work effectively to educate all members about them.

The Regression:

Some time, opportunity is a rare! It happens only one time and never come back again, who know? Thus, the voice of the people to support CNRP in 2013 is huge and sufficient enough to drive changes in Cambodia. Struggles several decades with improving gradual achievements are a good sign indeed, but this doesn’t translate that the longer time opposition party will take to overcome its government-led party shall not be labelled as a rubber-stamp to the government-led party. Bonding together to avoid dividing is one virtue, and working hard through using all mechanisms intelligently is another, but to maintain its status-quo forever opposition party is not good for both leaders and supporters in a long run.

This is called the worse side of regression. CNRP cannot loss it struggles. CNRP cannot loss its sight in manipulating crisis into success at all. As the top leader has gained enough trust from the people, the common sense informs him to focus on structural building for government leadership more important than anything else right now.     

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CNRP’s Action Plan and Political Platform

VOA Interviewing of MP Son Chhay and Expected New CNRP Policy Undertaking

sonchhayFirst of all, I would like to congratulate MP Son Chhay who are selected to monitor this task. MP Son Chhay is known for his work seniority, parliamentary knowledge, integrity, and political moderation.

According to this interview, the task of transformation CNRP from long-serving opposition party towards new vibrant alternative government-led party is pragmatic and effort-needed collective work. There are pragmatism, challenges, and solutions lying ahead of this effort.

Pragmatism
My previous recommendations on increasing anticipation on “culture of dialogue“, Sun Ray Policy, and building realistic platform for minority leader in the assembly, all are foreseeably achievable and effective after the political settlement incurred by confrontational political detente. The agreement to conduct in-dept reform of the National Election Committee, although it is not in a perfect shape, but at least new voters registration and the sharing power of 4 candidates from opposition party could solve this short-term fallacy of the NEC. The preparedness to play in field of those CNRP’s 55 law-makers were not in consistency. A new marriaged couple needs time to adapt. The brides and grooms were coming from different backgrounds as some are smoothly accustoming to the actual ground but some are brand-new to this new space. The later are likely perceived as hardliner activists which are visibly contradictory to dialogue and teamwork cooperation. Thus, all these differences have not constrainted CNRP from moving ahead and devolving its advancement. Opposition gained 55 seats or 26 seats increase in 2013 national election to become highest performance opposition party to sustain such outstanding incremental numbers with popular votes of nearly 3 millions or run shorter than the winner CPP around only 300,000 votes. The major voters are from urban and middle (income) classes of Cambodian population. This visible voter-location figure is significant for CNRP’s leadership to adjust its strategy from activism to pragmatism by using KPI (Key Performance Index) to analyse its law-makers and higher status members inside the party to insure highest expectation of work performance, to adjust public speech and political delivering focusing on more meaning on policy than personality or policy-oriented approach equipped by data-based analysis, and to undertake a policy of inclusiveness by including voters of Cambodians overseas and those current competent or technical individuals within the government when CNRP ascended to government-power leadership. The adopting of diversifying internal competent key leaders to prepare for different work accountability through shadowship cabinet arrangement is pragmatic. The building-up realistic and actual platform for minority leader of the assembly is a must to complying with the amended law of the Cambodia Constitution. Minority leader must not just be inscribed by the law, but he/she must be entitled to privileges and financial aids by the government.

Challenges
Recalling the shadow cabinet arrangement in accordance to democracy practices, MP Chheam Chany once was accused by PM Hun Sen because of his new title created among opposition party members to advance the critics on armed forces section of Cambodia. It was Hun Sen alone among leaders in this world who adopted democracy without allowing opposition to conduct its effective critics tasking and effective-embodied force to ensure maximum benefits for the nation. After 2013 election, the situation changed, as law adopted CNRP to be official opposition party and King nominated its president as minority leader for the parliament so it will depend on the opposition to utilize this provision at the fullest. Amid current crisis on judicial system perpetrated on broad-day light by the ACU, it has advocated more sympathies from the Cambodian people to look at the opposition party CNRP on its adherence to professionalism and high standard performance. It poses tremendous challenges for the party to roll on especially to build up effective think tank of criticism.

Solutions
Amid current excessive forces of attack, the preemptive bid opposition should carry out is “avihimsa or patience and non-cooperative” by strengthening its internal forces and co-opt new criticism approaches. Buddha said patience is supreme virtue of the wise; patience brings clear wisdom and road-map. Whenever, the contender tried to bring us to their arranged game, we should not cooperate with such dirty arranged game. And the most important one is to increase criticism through new tools of delivery. The function of opposition party is to critics the government-led party. Whenever, the works of criticism are disappeared, the opposition title shall be disappeared as well. But new criticism approaches must be adopted and enhanced. Scholars addressed effective criticism as positive, specific, objective, and constructive. Grouping expertise among those 55 law-makers through shadow government platform to solely work on their own specialization shall bring specific and objective inputs leading to positive and constructive changes. Those expertise must have platform such as blog, media or publication to publicize their works as well as for a monitor to easily follow up. Few minutes speech during parliamentary plenary session must come along with produced paper work that public media and voters are able to anticipate it without going through middle men or third persons. Public rhetorics should be objective, not subjective or specifying the issues (as really shortage), the affiliated body to such issue (accountable body), and recommendation (achievable solution framework). No excitement, anger voice, personal attacking, explicit vile (sometime level of tone), and be directive towards actual accountable body etc. are few tools to perform an effective criticism. For instance, ACU should be criticized for its abusing of power and mandate because this body should punish those corrupt high ranking officers who have been endorsed by the King under the provision of the Constitution, not a civilian, ordinary citizen, or members of civil society. ACU’s actions towards civil society members has surely complicated higher court of Cambodia and Ministry of Justice who have been abode by some levels of due process and public servant ethics.

Remember that sometime to criticize the government is too subjective but to criticize those small sections of the government who are abusing power is very objective.

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