With members still languishing in jail and under fresh attack via a now two-week-old infidelity scandal, the Cambodia National Rescue Party emerged from a two-day meeting in Manila yesterday to announce it will not be hitting back, instead opting to focus on the upcoming elections.
“After discussing carefully and thoroughly, the permanent committee has decided [the CNRP] will keep quiet by not responding, not arguing, by sticking to nonviolent principles all together as one Khmer [nation],” read a statement posted yesterday on the party’s Facebook page.
The statement, which avows the party’s ongoing commitment to the “culture of dialogue”, says the CNRP will not seek “revenge” or view any Cambodian as their “enemy”, adding that the party is solely focused on a “path towards the elections to bring about positive change in 2017-2018”.
Contacted yesterday, CNRP spokesman Yem Ponhearith said the party discussed a range of issues in Manila, but the recent accusations of infidelity hounding deputy leader Kem Sokha, which many see as an orchestrated smear campaign, were not among them. However, a strategy to secure the release of 11 CNRP activists languishing in jail was one of the talking points.
“[We] will look into the [proper] procedure that [we] can use, and besides that, we will continue to take care of their health issues while in jail,” he said.In response, Cambodian People’s Party spokesman Sok Eysan said that the ruling party had long advocated for a culture of dialogue.
“What [the CPP] signed, the CPP respects,” he said, referring to a political deal agreed upon to bring an end to the post-election crisis.As far as the activists were concerned, that would be left to the courts, he added.