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No political crisis, premier says

Ven Rathavong / Khmer Times Share:
Prime Minister Hun Sen gives a speech to garment workers. KT/Ven Rathavong

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday reaffirmed that no political crisis existed and the upcoming election would take place as scheduled.

Speaking with thousands of garment workers in Phnom Penh, Mr Hun Sen said that peace prevailed in Cambodia and no political crisis existed.

“Cambodia does not have war or political crisis at all,” he said, adding that those who claimed a political crisis existed were those who had committed crimes.

Mr Hun Sen added that workers, businessmen and farmers continued to do their jobs as usual while tourism was booming, and reiterated that the national election would take place on July 29 without delay.

“What is the political crisis? It was called a political crisis by a group of people who acted against the law and they faced legal action. It’s not a political issue,” he said, referring to former members of the CNRP who are in prison and its former leader Sam Rainsy.

In November, the Supreme Court dissolved the CNRP and banned 118 of its senior officials from politics for five years.

The dissolution occurred after former party president Kem Sokha was jailed on treason charges in September and the party was accused of conspiring with the US to topple the government through a colour revolution.

Mr Hun Sen on Tuesday also reaffirmed that he would not negotiate with Mr Rainsy or any politicians linked to the party because it had been dissolved.

Mr Rainsy has lived in self-imposed exile since 2015 after being hit with slew of court cases, including by Mr Hun Sen who accused him of defamation.

The premier recently told Kentaro Sonoura, special advisor to Japan’s Prime Minister, he has spent three-fourths of his life working to unify the country by using negotiation and had pardons granted to Mr Rainsy twice.

Mr Hun Sen added that he failed to establish a dialogue with the opposition party because there was no honesty and because Mr Rainsy had insulted his family several times.

“No one uses negotiation opportunities more than me among the world leaders,” Mr Hun Sen said yesterday, adding that he spent a lot of time negotiating the end of the civil war.

Since the CNRP’s dissolution, Western countries have threatened to cut off electoral aid and assistance to the government, but allies such as China, Japan, South Korea and Russia continue to support the electoral process in Cambodia.

Late last year, the United States and European Union suspended funding for the election and in December, the US imposed visa restrictions on government officials deemed to have been undermining democracy.

Mam Sonando, president of the Beehive Social Democratic Party, said there was a crisis between the ruling party and the former opposition party.

He added that the opposition party always followed the concepts of incitement, allegations, and disrespect for the law.

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