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SRP foresees ‘social turmoil’

SRP foresees ‘social turmoil’

Cambodia risks a violent uprising that could destabilise the region if citizens feel elections results in the next two years do not reflect their true will, opposition Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians said in a statement yesterday.

The Kingdom remains a “serial violator of human rights” and as such has little prospect of conducting free and fair elections this year and next, MPs said.

“If there are no proper elections then the chances of violent rebellion as a result of government land theft and forced evictions will increase, threatening destabilization in the region,” the statement, released yesterday, said.

Senior SRP lawmaker Yim Sovann told the Post violence in Cambodian society was evidently increasing. “In Cambodian society, we have never seen a political suicide, but now we see this because land rights are violated,” Yim Sovann said.

“We see people fighting the authorities with hammers and axes in Kampong Speu and the poorest of people traveling hundreds of kilometers from Preah Vihear to Phnom Penh to protest their evictions – we are heading to social turmoil, a social crisis.”

Exiled SRP leader Sam Rainsy visited Tunisia last year to learn from activists of the Jasmine Revolution which overthrew the 24 year rule of Ben Ali, SRP press reported.

Sam Rainsy has said that Cambodia is awaiting a similar so-called Lotus Revolution.

Director of NICFEC, Hang Puthea, said that violence was inevitable at election time, but the degree and occurrences of violence were decreasing.

“Political party’s campaigns are based on blaming and fighting each other,” Hang Puthea said. “People should be free from political pressure and if there were 100 per cent free and fair elections, I should not expect that there would be any violence.”

Ruling Cambodian People’s Party spokesmen Khieu Kanharith and Cheam Yeap were not available for comment yesterday.

Senate elections will take place on January 29, with commune elections to follow mid year and national elections in 2013.

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