Cambodia’s ruling political party chastised the opposition on Thursday for appealing to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to intervene in the country’s deteriorating political situation.
The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) delivered a written request to the U.N. leader on Wednesday, calling for an immediate meeting of the signatory countries to the 1991 Paris Peace Accords to ensure the safety of opposition lawmakers and help stabilize the Southeast Asian nation’s hostile political environment before key elections are held in 2017 and 2018.
The CNRP charges that the current instability “violates” the key tenets of the peace accords, which marked the official end of a Cambodian-Vietnamese War and permitted the U.N. to oversee a cease-fire and democratic elections following the Khmer Rouge’s 1975-79 reign of terror.
The Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) considers the CNRP’s letter to the U.S. a divisive act intended to tear the country apart and expose its internal affairs to outsiders, CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said.
He also told RFA’s Khmer Service that Cambodia’s political situation is not a state of emergency.
“There are smoke and fires here and there, but the situation is not so dangerous that one can say it is at an alarm stage…” he said. “I think that the opposition party’s tattling of tales about Cambodia’s internal affairs to the U.N. reflects serious confusion.”
The two political parties have yet to implement a “culture of dialogue,” he said, adding that the CPP is still willing to open the door to such discussions.
The CNRP’s current problems have nothing to do with the CPP, but with the individual opposition party members themselves, Sok Eysan said.
But the CNRP’s letter paints a different picture. It charges that Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has cracked down on opposition lawmakers and civil society groups over the past year, subjecting them to politically motivated lawsuits that violate the constitution’s immunity clause for lawmakers, arrests, jailings and physical attacks.
In the past, the CNRP and CPP touted a “culture of dialogue” between them that evolved following a July 2014 political deal in which the CNRP agreed to end an 11-month boycott of parliament over perceived irregularities in the country’s 2013 election.
Although both parties also agreed to form a new electoral commission, their relations later deteriorated in part due to the CNRP’s criticism of the government’s handling of a border dispute with neighboring Vietnam.
Reported by Zakariya Tin for RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Yanny Hin. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.