Opposition parties said yesterday that the court dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) and its allies are handing a landslide victory to the ruling party, no thanks to their calls to boycott the July 29 national elections.
But refuting claims that it is counterproductive, the CNRP’s former vice president Mu Sochua said its work to encourage the boycott would continue.
Sochua told The Post via email that the court-dissolved party would continue to do its job. “[CPP president and caretaker Prime Minister] Hun Sen worries the most about a boycott. We will continue the call,” she wrote.
However, Sam Inn, secretary-general and spokesman of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP), which was created by leaders of well-known civil society organisations, considered the “Sleep At Home” or “Clean Fingers” movement as inadvertently helping the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).
“The Sleep at Home campaign will create bad habits for Cambodian people in politics, especially towards voting. This campaign will help the CPP to win a landslide victory,” he said.
Inn said the opposition party “should immediately stop this campaign and urge the people to exercise their right to vote for change”.
Similarly, Kong Monika, president of the Khmer Will Party (KWP), a majority of whose candidates are former CNRP activists, believes the actions of former CNRP president Sam Rainsy went “contrary to democratic principles”.
“The dissolving of CNRP and the Clean Fingers movement illustrate a strong split in Cambodian society which is not good for the younger generation.
“It is time for veteran politicians to unite the nation through discussions, so people can live happily. They should place national interests above personal ones,” Monika said.
But Ou Chanrath, a former CNRP lawmaker, saw it differently: “In my opinion, what it (CNRP) did, some think opposes democratic principles. Does this election reflect democratic principles?
“National and international groups have said this election is controversial and some countries have said it is not a proper election,” he claimed.
Political analyst Meas Ny reiterated that going to vote was a personal choice. He claimed that if the turnout was high it would be a CPP victory. However, if it is low it would mean a victory for the CNRP.
“If few people show up at the polls, it would show the ruling party that a lot of people dislike it ... if 70 to 80 per cent show up at the polling stations it means that the CNRP’s claim that it has a lot of supporters is untrue,” Ny said.