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A Press Fan's Plea

Editors:

I am a former refugee who was repatriated some months ago. In this article, I want

to write something concerning some recent events in my country, namely the elections

to choose a National Constituent Assembly and the arrangement of the cabinet for

the new government which will be adopted in the next few days.

The thing that I'm most interested in is the result of the elections which were prepared

and strongly supported by the great UNTAC. There were no parties that lost or won

because the people of those parties were included in a government, automatically,

not just the winners.

Can this be regarded as an exercise of liberal democracy?

I have read books from many countries, but I have never seen or come across a liberal

democracy in any country that is exercised in this way. I have only seen the winning

party given the right to assume government positions, but, unfortunately enough,

a miracle has happened in my country.

Both I myself and other Khmer people are very worried about the implementation of

liberal democracy in my country, because the people in the new government or in the

National Assembly are mostly former leaders who held important posts in the four

past regimes. They all made mistakes in each of the old regimes. I don't believe

that all those people have the heart of the sportsman. Even though they used to make

mistakes they don't agree to walk away from their positions even though the country

is being destroyed.

They may not feel happy with any people or papers that criticize them. They will

respond or make corrections to the foreign press, but if it is the local one, it

will have problems.

Because of all these things, I myself and the Khmer people are feeling worried that

they will not allow liberal democracy to exist.

Only arranging to have an election does not mean liberal democracy has taken hold.

There are many more things that I and the Khmer people want, namely, freedom to write,

speak and criticize, especially the leaders of the country.

I think that when a leader makes any condemnation or threats through various means,

he will, of course, wish to conceal his mistakes and continue acting, though it is

against the law, in order to achieve his bad objective.

Their mistakes will get bigger and bigger and then my country will meet with a disaster

like the last two decades, and no countries can help.

I myself and all the Khmer people will continue to see if the Khmer leaders are happy

to let the people use their rights and freedom openly in order to implement liberal

democracy. Or do they want to ban and threaten us from the beginning?

I hope that you will not feel unhappy with my article. I will write some more, though

informally, to you in the name of a press fan.

- Seam Bun Theng

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