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Politikoffee announces pending return

Politikoffee members discuss Sino-Cambodian relations in August 2017 in Phnom Penh.
Politikoffee members discuss Sino-Cambodian relations in August 2017 in Phnom Penh. Facebook

Politikoffee announces pending return

In a New Year's tweet on Saturday, the youth forum Politikoffee declared its intention to resume its gatherings in March, following a brief suspension in response to growing political tensions.

“May New Year 2018 bring Cambodian leaders ‘peace of mind, candid political discourse and successful negotiation & diplomacy,’” the message reads. "Polititkoffee forum is set to come back early March 2018. Best wishes #YouthKH!"

Politikoffee suspended activities in November amid an ongoing government crackdown against political dissidents and civil society. The crackdown has seen the main opposition party dissolved and its leader arrested; media outlets shuttered and journalists imprisoned; and NGOs subjected to increased scrutiny and even expelled from the country.

The group, which frequently discusses politics in an open, uncensored manner, had said they could no longer “work to their full capacity” in the current political climate.

The Politikoffee team confirmed the return via email today, but was sparse on details.

“We can hopefully expect that nothing would change the nature and identity of our forum,” the team said in an email.

When asked what had changed to give the group renewed confidence in public political discourse, it only said it would “communicate [this] information” in the future.

Noan Sereiboth, a political blogger and frequent contributor to Politikoffee forums, said the program’s return was “great news”.

“I am glad for this news. It is a unique group and its contribution is invaluable for the society and to make Cambodia better,” he said.

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