Former senior CNRP officials have said they will not create a new political party to participate in next year’s general election, despite Prime Minister Hun Sen’s call for them to do so.
Their comments came as former opposition leader Sam Rainsy continued to urge the armed forces and the public to stand up to Mr Hun Sen, claiming international sanctions would soon cause the collapse of his leadership.
Eng Chhay Eang, former vice-president of the CNRP, posted on Facebook yesterday to say the opposition would not create a new party, since Mr Hun Sen’s call for them to do so was a “tactic”.
He added that Mr Hun Sen’s invitation was an attempt to ease pressure from the international community after criticism of the CNRP’s dissolution.
“Prime Minister Hun Sen is trying to get former opposition officials to follow him,” Mr Chhay Eang said.
“We will not do what Mr Hun Sen wants.”
He said former CNRP members will continue to campaign for the dissolution of their party to be reversed; the release of their leader Kem Sokha and all other political prisoners; the dismissal of politically-motivated charges against politicians, civil society officials and journalists; freedom for NGOs and independent media; and free and fair elections in 2018.
However, Mr Hun Sen said on Sunday the former CNRP would not be revived under any circumstances.
“Let me give you some recommendations that could be useful and not waste time,” he said. “There is only one way to compete democratically in the next election and that is to create a new party.”
Lawyers for the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces meanwhile attended Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday to clarify their treason complaint against Mr Rainsy, who has called on the army to stand against the Prime Minister.
However, Mr Rainsy posted on Facebook to say the ruling CPP is at risk of losing power if it doesn’t stop its repressive policies.
He also said the Cambodian people must not allow Mr Hun Sen to hold them hostage or to blackmail the donor community.
They must stand up to push for democratic change through a real and credible election with the participation of the CNRP, he added.
“I again appeal to the armed forces to stand by the people and to refrain from shooting and killing innocent citizens who peacefully demand freedom and justice,” Mr Rainsy said.
Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said the Prime Minister has confirmed that the political situation in the country is irreversible, which means his strategy to divide and rule is proving successful.
“If parties were formed out of the CNRP to compete in the forthcoming elections as suggested, the CNRP would recognise the legitimacy of its dissolution and the ensuing reallocation of the seats it won in the 2013 elections and in this year’s commune elections,” he said.
“The sanctions imposed on his regime would then have no justification and would have to be lifted.”
Tuy Ry, Cambodia’s permanent representative to the United Nations, last week wrote to Foreign Minister Prak Sokhon, saying the United States and the European permanent mission to the UN would today hold a meeting in New York on the dissolution of the CNRP.
Japan and other signatories to the Paris Peace Agreement will participate in the meeting