The Cambodia National Rescue Party yesterday once again called for the ruling party to reconsider negotiating a solution to the current political crisis, with the leadership of smaller parties also calling for the government to give the opposition a break.
Speaking to reporters after a visit to Prey Sar prison to meet jailed CNRP activists, opposition lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang asked that the CPP resume the so-called culture of dialogue.
He added that international organisations such as the United Nations and the European Union delegation in Cambodia had voiced concerns over the judicial proceedings against opposition lawmakers.
“With this case, even though the ruling party says it is law enforcement and court proceedings, national and international opinions are seeing it clearly [for what it is],” Chhay Eang said.
He said that the lengthy prison terms handed out to CNRP activists convicted of insurrection at Freedom Park, compared to the one-year sentences given to three men from Hun Sen’s Bodyguard Unit convicted of beating two lawmakers outside the National Assembly showed two different standards of law enforcement in the country.
“Therefore, we have seen already in the case of Cambodia it is not just law enforcement but it is politically motivated,” he said. “So, to resolve these problems politicians need to meet.”
Earlier this month, the CNRP proposed to National Assembly spokesman Leng Peng Long to use already existing working groups from both parties, which had been set up last year in an another attempt to restart the culture of dialogue.
CPP spokesman Sok Eysan yesterday continued to maintain the party line, saying there would be no negotiations, a position taken by Prime Minister Hun Sen last week, who said any discussions would undermine the country’s judicial independence.
“There are no negotiations. There is nothing to negotiate. Let the courts do their work,” he said.
However, spokesmen for the Grassroots Democratic Party and Funcinpec party, Sam Inn and Nhep Bunchin, said negotiations between the CPP and CNRP were needed to ensure a resolution to the political crisis.
“This is not a good political atmosphere – causing a lot of fear among citizens,” Inn said. “This atmosphere can affect the 2017 and 2018 elections.”
Speaking to local media, Khmer National United Party head Nhek Bun Chhay also said that if the two parties did not negotiate a solution, the political environment would only get worse.