Hun Manet, a future prime ministerial candidate for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), has emphasised the necessity of peaceful transition of power through democratic elections.
He warned that resorting to violence, military force or orchestrating colour revolutions would not secure enduring peace.
In a video clip shared on his social media platform on July 17, Hun Manet identified three ways of altering leadership. He mentioned elections, a coup, and inciting people towards a colour revolution. Among these, he underscored elections as the best choice.
“Changes in leadership through revolution have been experienced by some countries, including ours in the 1970s. However, transitions through elections can avoid chaos, war, illegal seizure of power, coups, and uprisings,” he expressed.
Further, he voiced his concerns, saying: “Power struggles or changing the government through violence and the use of armed forces or a coup will not ensure peace or social security. Instead, they will undoubtedly bring insecurity and national breakup”.
Seun Sam, a political analyst at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, reflected on the turbulent history of Cambodia, marred by a coup d’etat in 1970 against then Prince Norodom Sihanouk by Marshal Lon Nol, and its long-lasting aftermath.
“Only power obtained through elections truly benefits national development. Power achieved by using armed forces, war, and similar means only brings destruction to the country,” Sam stated.
Sam also noted that since 1993, Cambodia’s incumbent government had come to power through regularly held democratic elections.
Numerous political parties have participated in these elections, with the last commune council election contested by 20 parties and the upcoming general election on July 23 set to feature 18 parties.
Yong Kim Eng, president of the People Centre for Development and Peace, acknowledged that Hun Manet’s sentiments echoed the aspirations of the Cambodian people who want the future of Cambodia to be determined at the ballot box.
“Our people never wish to see the change of government through a colour revolution or armed forces because we are already overwhelmed by those experiences,” Kim Eng stated.
He further expressed that people desire power disputes to be settled through democratic elections, which guarantee transparency and credibility for all involved parties, in the best interest of the nation.