Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - A call to the world’s parliamentarians: Help save Cambodian democracy




A call to the world’s parliamentarians: Help save Cambodian democracy

CPP lawmakers vote in favour of controversial amendments to the Law on Political Parties during a National Assembly session in July. The law effectively forbids former opposition leader Sam Rainsy from participating in the Kingdom’s politics.
CPP lawmakers vote in favour of controversial amendments to the Law on Political Parties during a National Assembly session in July. The law effectively forbids former opposition leader Sam Rainsy from participating in the Kingdom’s politics. Pha Lina

A call to the world’s parliamentarians: Help save Cambodian democracy

At the Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting currently taking place in Saint Petersburg for its 137th assembly, gathering representatives of the world’s 173 parliaments, I appeal to these parliaments for their help to save the principle of parliamentary representation, in Cambodia.

In the Cambodian National Assembly, the 123 deputies are divided between two political parties, the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), led by Prime Minister Hun Sen, which has 68 seats, and the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), which has 55 seats.

New legislative elections are scheduled for July 2018 and independent observers are in agreement that, in the light of growing popular discontent, the opposition will make further advances, which have every prospect of bringing it to power and ending the uninterrupted rule of the CPP which has lasted 38 years.

At this crucial juncture, the government carried out last month the arrest and imprisonment of the head of the CNRP, the leader of the opposition, Kem Sokha, based on claims of “national treason” and “sedition to overturn the government”. Hun Sen further announced, in recent days, the dissolution of the CNRP, based on the same logic.

The CPP and the government have recently amended laws on political parties and elections to give themselves the right to dissolve the CNRP at any moment, safe in the knowledge that the police and the courts are at their behest.

The dissolution of the CNRP will mean that its 55 democratically elected deputies will automatically and collectively lose their parliamentary mandate created by universal suffrage. This constitutes a grave breach of Cambodia’s commitment to democracy created and guaranteed by the Paris peace agreement signed under the aegis of the United Nations in 1991.

The anti-democratic accusations and actions of the government against the CNRP have been condemned by the United Nations, the European Parliament and governments around the world, as well as by many human rights organisations.

As a representative of the Cambodian people elected and re-elected since 1993, and a former leader of the opposition in forced exile, I respectfully ask for the support of the world’s parliamentarians to help their elected colleagues in the CNRP and defend the very principle of parliamentary representation.

Sam Rainsy
Paris

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Quarantine site in north Phnom Penh inaugurated

    A four-building quarantine centre in Phnom Penh’s Prek Pnov district was formally inaugurated on January 6. The centre can house up to 500 people, according to Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng. At the inauguration ceremony, Sreng said the municipal hall had cooperated with the Ministry

  • ‘Beware of WhatsApp fraudsters’

    The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications warned members of the public who use WhatsApp to vigilantly guard against a new trick employed by hackers that involves the use of six-digit codes sent to potential victims via the popular messaging app. The ministry said hackers could