Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rainsy strategy is ‘faulty’: PM



Rainsy strategy is ‘faulty’: PM

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Hun Sen gives a speech during his visit to a garment factory in Kampong Speu province on Wednesday. facebook

Rainsy strategy is ‘faulty’: PM

Prime Minister Hun Sen claimed on Wednesday that political rival Sam Rainsy’s “clean hands strategy”, the aim of which is to persuade supporters of the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) to boycott July’s national elections, is “faulty” and will only benefit the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).

Rainsy, meanwhile, said Hun Sen’s rule will soon come to an end. He compared it to the regime of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who recently won an election marred by irregularities and a low turnout.

Rainsy, a former president of the CNRP and current president of the Cambodian National Rescue Movement (CNRM) – formed after the CNRP’s demise – said on his Facebook page on Tuesday that the Venezuelan opposition’s call for an election boycott was successful.

This, he said, was because only 47 percent of registered voters showed up at the polls on Sunday. He called for those who supported the CNRP to do the same to keep “one’s hands clean” by not participating in an “unfair” election process.

On Wednesday, when addressing nearly 2,000 garment workers in Kampong Speu province’s Chbar Mon town, Hun Sen derided Rainsy’s “clean hands strategy”, saying it is bound to fail because the CPP has an asset that the South American country doesn’t.

“You must remember clearly, open your eyes wider and wait for July 29. You wait and see . . . there is one major difference between Venezuela and Cambodia, and that is the members of the CPP. Just the members voting is enough to win and guarantee a higher turnout [than in Venezuela]. You remember this . . . your ‘clean hands strategy’ is faulty.”

The prime minister said over 5 million out of some 8 million registered voters were CPP members. This, he said, is more than enough to ensure the turnout is higher than 50 percent.

However, Hun Sen said he hoped all registered voters, CPP supporters or not, will turn out to participate in the elections.

He also touched on a familiar theme – that the opposition has been trying to topple the government since losing the 2013 national elections – and mocked its protest following that loss.

“In 2013, among a population of 15 million, how many thousands participated in the protest to topple government? You failed then, and you will fail this time, because you can’t lead while living abroad,” Hun Sen said. “This time your body and bones are broken and buried.”

Rainsy, who has lived in exile to avoid criminal charges that he and his supporters claim to be politically motivated, took to his Facebook page to compare Cambodia to Venezuela.

Maduro is deeply unpopular in the South American country as he has overseen the decimation of the economy and is accused of being responsible for the country having the world’s highest inflation rate, leading to severe shortages of food, medicine and items needed for everyday life.

On Sunday, he won a new mandate, but because of election boycotts called for by the opposition, many Western countries, particularly the US, are not recognising the results. The US is also now mulling new sanctions against Venezuela.

Describing Venezuela’s polls on Sunday as “fake”, Rainsy said: “Dictators always hold fake elections to stay in power. But in the last election [in Venezuela], most people followed the appeals of the opposition parties to boycott the election,” he wrote.

“The international community does not recognise the result of the fake election in Venezuela and condemns them while putting pressure on the dictatorship.”

Election expert Sam Kuntheamy, who is director for the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections (Nicfec), said Cambodia does not have a law dictating that turnout has to be a certain percentage to be declared legitimate, but if turnout is low, the world may see it as illegitimate.

“Although, there is no law, in reality, the international community looks at voters’ will. How will it look if the percentage of turnout is lower than 50 percent?” Kuntheamy asked.

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • 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

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • 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

  • 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