Senior Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) officials claimed on Wednesday that former opposition leader Sam Rainsy recently sent a “secret” message to Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting to negotiate.
The Kampuchea Thmey newspaper quoted CPP spokesman Sok Eysan as writing on messaging app Telegram: “This convict [Rainsy] secretly and directly wrote a message [to Hun Sen on Twitter].”
Sam Rainsy, who lives in France to escape a slew of criminal charges and a five-year sentence for his involvement in the dissemination of forged Cambodia-Vietnam border documents, was recently nominated “acting president” of the CNRP.
He is said to have contacted Hun Sen claiming to be negotiating on behalf of the 118 former party officials who were banned from participation in political activities in order for them to return to politics.
The message claims levelled against Sam Rainsy by the CPP follow his declarations that CNRP politicians will not negotiate with Hun Sen in order to have their political rights restored.
Sam Rainsy has previously stated that only the international community had the ability to influence the government in order to secure the release of Kem Sokha, have charges against opposition party members dropped, as well as secure new national elections.
Last week, the National Assembly unanimously decided to pass an amendment to Article 45 of the Law on Political Parties, paving the way for some of the 118 banned former CNRP politicians to resume their political careers.
Sam Rainsy has criticised opposition politicians who intend to use the amendment to return to politics, saying they are playing into the prime minister’s hands.
Sok Eysan’s message said that Sam Rainsy was not on the list of opposition officials who will have their political rights restored, as he is no longer considered a member of the CNRP following his resignation.
Sok Eysan continued that Sam Rainsy sent the message to the prime minister as he was afraid of being isolated by the amendment and the potential return of many CNRP members to the political fold.
He said Sam Rainsy cannot avoid being isolated as party members are no longer confident in him “as he is a liar and cheat”.
He also accused Sam Rainsy of “grabbing” his position as CNRP acting president in violation of the party’s statutes.
“[Rainsy] is frightened. He has continued to incite people and the armed forces to stand up against the Cambodian government for his own interests. He is a coward cheating other people into dying instead of himself,” Sok Eysan said.