Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Busy’ CPP pols in no rush to meet with CNRP

‘Busy’ CPP pols in no rush to meet with CNRP

Kem Sokha (left) and Sar Kheng part ways after a meeting at the National Assembly in August.
Kem Sokha (left) and Sar Kheng part ways after a meeting at the National Assembly in August. Heng Chivoan

‘Busy’ CPP pols in no rush to meet with CNRP

Reversing a statement he made on Sunday, CPP lawmaker and spokesman Sok Eysan said a tentatively scheduled meeting between party leaders, including Interior Minister and senior CPP official Sar Kheng and CNRP acting president Kem Sokha, set for either yesterday or today had been cancelled because of work commitments.

“Because the leaders of Cambodian People’s Party are engaged in their duties to serve the nation and the people, they do not have a plan to meet with leaders of the [CNRP] in the National Assembly,” Eysan said, refusing to reveal a timeframe for negotiations.

“The culture of dialogue is still open as before, but because their work schedules are very busy, the [CPP leaders] do not plan to meet at this time.”

Responding, CNRP spokesman Yem Ponharith said the party agreed talks could wait for an “appropriate time”.

Sokha last week pledged to sit down and negotiate with the CPP to defuse tensions, with party president Sam Rainsy currently in self-imposed exile in France to avoid going to prison.

Rainsy, stripped of his lawmaker status on November 16, faces a two-year sentence over a 2011 conviction for defaming Foreign Minister Hor Namhong in 2008.

The case, long dormant and thought expunged, emerged on November 13 as political tensions swelled following the ousting of Sokha as the National Assembly’s first vice president and the gang-bashing of two opposition MPs outside parliament after a pro-CPP rally, a demonstration foreshowed by Prime Minister Hun Sen the night before.

Yesterday morning, the CNRP’s 55 lawmakers boycotted a plenary session of parliament, citing fears for their safety.

Ponharith said the party wanted more arrests for the assault of Nhay Chamroeun and Kong Sakphea.

To date, only three men, all soldiers, have been charged. Several can be seen in footage of the attack widely circulated on social media.

He also called for Sokha to be reinstated as assembly vice president and for the case against Rainsy to be dropped.

Those calls were echoed yesterday by the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR), which became the latest group to condemn the government over recent events, following a resolution by the European Parliament last week.

“These events are not isolated incidents, but appear instead to be part of a broader effort by the ruling party to undermine and dismantle the opposition,” said APHR chairperson and Malaysian MP Charles Santiago, also citing verbal attacks and threats against the CNRP by Hun Sen, and the imprisonment of Sam Rainsy Party Senator Hong Sok Hour and opposition activists.

“These politically motivated decisions confirm the extent to which the legislative and judicial branches in Cambodia are regularly used as tools of the Prime Minister and his cohorts to threaten and silence opposition voices.”

Additional reporting by Shaun Turton

MOST VIEWED

  • Second Hungary business forum set for H2

    Cambodia has asked Hungary to provide GSP- (Generalised System of Preferences) Plus facilities for when the Kingdom sheds its least-developed country (LDC) label, as the two countries prepare to hold a second business forum in the second half (H2) of this year to expand trade

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior

  • Bullets to bracelets: Siem Reap man makes waste from war wearable

    Jewellery is often made from valuable gemstones like emeralds or diamonds and precious metals like gold or silver, or valueless things like animal horns. But a man in Siem Reap has approached the manufacture of delicate pieces from a different angle. His unique form of

  • Nearly 50 states join Kun Khmer Federation, all set for training

    In a little over a week, the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) has accepted membership requests from 20 new nations, in addition to the exiting 29. The sudden influx of international recognition stems from the Kingdom’s successful introduction of Kun Khmer to the 32nd Souheast Asian (

  • 61% of 2022 imports came from just 3 markets

    The three largest exporters to Cambodia – mainland China, Vietnam and Thailand – accounted for 60.94 per cent of the Kingdom’s total merchandise imports last year, at $18.245 billion, which was up 11.99 per cent over 2021, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise. Cambodia’s total imports

  • CPP sets out five primary strategic goals for 2023-28

    The Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) on January 29 concluded its two-day extraordinary congress, setting the party’s priority goals for 2023-2028. The ruling party’s congress was attended by more than 3,000 members from across the Kingdom, including the members of the permanent and central committees,