Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday said Cambodia has succeeded in preventing the dissolved opposition CNRP from overthrowing the government through a colour revolution.
“As a result, Cambodia has maintained peace, independence and its sovereignty as well as avoided a new disaster for people who are leading active lives and developing the country,” he said in a statement to compatriots before the upcoming Khmer New Year.
Mr Hun Sen said that just one year ago Cambodia was challenged by obstacles inside and outside the country but the government worked to protect territorial sovereignty, ensure political stability and bring harmony to the nation.
“The trick of a colour revolution by the opposition party in colluding with foreigners to topple the legitimate government was prevented through legal measures,” he said.
The opposition CNRP was dissolved by the Supreme Court in November after former leader Kem Sokha was arrested on treason charges over comments made in 2013 video footage from Australia-based CBN news, showing him saying the US government had been helping him to push for regime change in Cambodia since 1993.
Former CNRP lawmaker Ou Chanrath congratulated the government for new achievements and economic growth but denied that the CNRP had been plotting to overthrow the government.
“I reject accusations that the dissolved CNRP was involved in a colour revolution. It is terribly wrong,” he said.
Mr Chanrath added that a colour revolution was unnecessary because the opposition had gained even more support in last year’s commune elections.
He called on the government to reinstate the CNRP and lift the ban on 118 senior party members from politics so they could participate in the national election on July 29.
“For the election to be free and fair, the participation of the CNRP is important. We hope some senior leaders of the opposition who were banned from politics can join the upcoming election,” Mr Chanrath added.
Sok Eysan, spokesman for the ruling CPP, dismissed the idea of allowing banned opposition politicians to join the national poll.
“Treasonous politicians are not allowed in politics. Those people were banned from politics after the dissolution of the CNRP whose leader Kem Sokha was arrested on treason charges,” he said.
Mr Eysan added that if the government hadn’t prevented a colour revolution by the CNRP, the country would have become a disaster like it was in the past and Cambodians would have been unable to celebrate the upcoming Khmer New Year.
“His [Mr Chanrath’s] comments hide the truth that his party attempted a colour revolution,” he said. “It is a huge success that we prevented a colour revolution,” he said.