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‘Local and foreign dogs’ misleading people

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CPP spokesman Sok Eysan speaks to the press outside the National Assembly in Phnom Penh in 2016. Heng Chivoan

‘Local and foreign dogs’ misleading people

Ruling Cambodian People’s Party spokesman Sok Eysan said on Thursday that the political situation in Cambodia is making “good progress”. He accused “local and foreign dogs” of trying to intimidate and mislead people into thinking the contrary.

However, a former lawmaker with the court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Mao Monyvann, claimed the Kingdom is actually “walking backwards” on the “multi-party democratic path”. But Eysan compared such criticism to dogs “barking”.

He said criticism from the international community and the former opposition over the July 29 national elections – in which the government won all 125 seats in the National Assembly – was causing “intimidation and confusion”.

“Talking about problems that do not exist in truth is ineffective for Cambodian people. Whatever [critics] say, it is useless because people know the truth. So let [the critics] talk, there is no need to worry about them. It is like barking, and we should not bark like dogs.

“While the political situation in Cambodia is progressing, some dogs, local and foreign, start to create problems, inventing negative circumstances to intimidate and mislead the Cambodian people,” he said.

He said regardless of what they said, the situation kept progressing and the political situation remains stable.

“People’s livelihoods are improving and [average Cambodians] are happy with peace and political stability, and continue doing good deeds at the pagoda and in their villages and communes without worrying about who is in jail, fleeing the country or running protests,” he said, referring to the former CNRP leadership.

In response, Monyvann laughed at Eysan’s statement on Thursday, saying that being an experienced politician, he should not use insulting language as it makes him look like an amateur.

“The Cambodian people clearly understand that [the Kingdom is regressing democratically], and we know it in this age – an age in which the world has progressed so far."

“[Take] our country. We signed the Paris Peace Accords in 1991 and the world wants to see us arrange the country within a multi-party democracy framework."

“We have reached a turning point, but we are pushing the country back to the situation of [the] 1980s,” he said, referring to the communist era of the 1979-1991 People’s Republic of Kampuchea government.

“[Eysan is] boasting about an improving situation without any basis with which to do so. The world gives us advice to have the country on the democratic path … I think we are walking backwards if we are talking about the multi-party democracy path.”

Analyst Em Sovannara said that he did not oppose Eysan’s comments on the development of many sectors in Cambodia.

However, he took the opposite view when it came to the Kingdom’s political situation.

“The political situation in Cambodia has not progressed as [Eysan] has stated, because it has becomes [intense] and that leads to a confrontation between politicians of the opposition and ruling parties."

“The opposition party mobilises support from the international community and urges it to scrutinise the political situation in Cambodia."

“We can see that the international community is focused on two poles – the US and the EU – has paid attention to the political and human rights situation in Cambodia,” he said.

Sovannara said the current political situation is fixed. But it [becomes more intense] when the EU and the UN demand that Cambodia returns to the political freedoms seen in the 2017 commune elections.

“The current situation means the international community makes demands of us, and we have not responded to their demands,” he said.

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