Former opposition leader Sam Rainsy told supporters in France on Sunday that members of the military secretly supported the CNRP, comments one analyst suggested were inappropriate in an environment that has seen the role of security services dangerously politicised ahead of coming elections.
Senior commanders of the Kingdom’s security forces many of whom hold high-ranking positions within the ruling party have repeatedly inveighed against instability and so-called colour revolutions in recent months, rhetoric often viewed by observers as being aimed at the opposition.
But in his remarks on Sunday, Rainsy said that many members of the military, including some of Hun Sen’s bodyguards, would vote for the CNRP in commune elections in June.
“They are quiet, but in their heart they voted for the [CNRP] already. When [the CNRP] wins and leads the country we will invite them to serve the nation all together,” Rainsy said.
Defence Ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat yesterday accused Rainsy of intending to sow division in the armed forces, calling the remarks the product of “his crazy imagination”.
But political analyst Ou Virak said that while a significant chunk of the military may indeed support the CNRP, this type of rhetoric should be avoided. “This is dangerous politics from both sides. They shouldn’t play up the military. It should be the guarantor of stability, not a political tool.”
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