Opposition leader Sam Rainsy yesterday said that his party would call off all negotiations with the ruling Cambodian People’s Party if it continues to use government security forces to intimidate Cambodia National Rescue Party supporters at provincial meetings.
Speaking at a press conference at the CNRP headquarters yesterday before a meeting in Kampong Chhnang, Rainsy claimed that the ruling party had deployed supporters and security forces to intimidate his supporters in three incidents, in Kandal on January 21, Kampong Cham on January 26 and in Prey Veng on Wednesday.
“Today, I am delivering a message to the CPP, that if they still use their authorities to interrupt us in Kampong Chhnang province as in Prey Veng province, I will not negotiate with the CPP, but if nothing happens we will continue to negotiate.”
A number of government and ruling party officials could not be reached for comment yesterday. The opposition meeting in Kampong Chhnang went off without a hitch, though CPP supporters gathered at their party headquarters two kilometres away, chanting through loudspeakers and holding banners declaring their support for the ruling party’s election win.
At the CNRP meet, party leaders sought to assure supporters that an agreement to form a joint election reform committee with the CPP made earlier this week – the most progress made in talks between the two parties since September – did not amount to an end of the party’s parliamentary boycott.
“Even though the party already agreed to form the election reform [committee] and to get advice from international and national [experts], we will not go to the National Assembly to meet and [start] debating laws yet. We will still continue to do provincial forums to get recommendations from villagers,” CNRP deputy president Kem Sokha said.
Rainsy, meanwhile, despite copping criticism for his continuous inflammatory rhetoric against Vietnamese in light of a racist mob killing earlier this week, criticised Vietnam’s political and economic influence.
“Hun Sen just works to serve the yuon. If the CNRP ran the government, I would take all the land and give it back to villagers,” he told supporters.