Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Sen tried to split CNRP: Rainsy



Hun Sen tried to split CNRP: Rainsy

Kem Sokha and Sam Rainsy attend a meeting at the National Assembly in Phnom Penh last year.
Kem Sokha and Sam Rainsy attend a meeting at the National Assembly in Phnom Penh last year. Vireak Mai

Hun Sen tried to split CNRP: Rainsy

Opposition leader-in-exile Sam Rainsy took to the airwaves over the weekend to detail what he said was Prime Minister Hun Sen’s direct involvement in attempts to split the CNRP.

In an interview with Radio Free Asia aired on Saturday, Rainsy said that the premier had at various points courted both himself and his deputy, Kem Sokha.

“In 2015, Mr Hun Sen – I refer to him by name – he came to talk with me saying . . . ‘Both of us can work together, but I do not want to work with [Sokha]’,” Rainsy said.

“If I gave up Kem Sokha, then I would be comfortable; I would have everything I want.”

Reached yesterday, Rainsy said that when he refused to split his party, the premier made similar overtures to Sokha, who likewise refused.

Both have since been threatened with legal action, forcing Rainsy to flee the country and leaving Sokha bunkered down at the CNRP headquarters, where he has lived for the past two months to avoid arrest in relation to cases stemming from recorded conversations with his purported mistress.

The CNRP was formed in 2012 by a merger of Rainsy’s Sam Rainsy Party and Sokha’s Human Rights Party. However, it has sometimes been an uneasy alliance, observers have noted.

While the CNRP and its leaders have in the past accused the ruling party of trying to exploit divisions within the party, it is the first time Rainsy has directly implicated Hun Sen.

But Cambodian People’s Party spokesman Sok Eysan said Rainsy’s suggestion that the premier was behind a plot to divide and conquer the opposition was a fabrication.

“[Hun Sen] has never spoken untruthfully. He says ‘one is one’ and ‘two is two’, not like Sam Rainsy,” Eysan said. “[Rainsy] is good at creating stories. He wants to highlight himself and put blame on others. His political behaviour is a flip-flop.”

Political analyst Ou Virak questioned whether this latest episode in politicking would have any impact on the Cambodian people.

“The population is numb and, in a way, frustrated with the political class and the political elite,” he said.

“There are signs that people are listening less to politics on both sides and more to people like Kem Ley. That’s why the funeral [yesterday] was sending a strong message that people are not happy with the political class.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Cintri strike ends, workers’ contracts to be terminated

    CINTRI (Cambodia) Ltd rubbish collectors who have been on strike for the past 13 days agreed to return to work starting Wednesday evening after the company agreed to terminate their contracts at the end of January next year and provide seniority payments and other benefits to

  • Inmates evacuated, schools closed as flooding takes toll

    Thousands of students in Battambang province missed school while over 1,000 prisoners in Banteay Meanchey province were evacuated because of rain-induced floods in the past few days. Yi Songky, director of the provincial Department of Education, Youth and Sport, said floods affected 316 schools in Battambang. Over 200