CNRP and CPP: No Consensus

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PHNOM PENH: March 12. 2014 (Khmer Times) – CNRP said in its statement that it would like to reform the National Election Committee (NEC), especially its composition.
 
The CNRP wanted to redefine the role of the NEC and the appointment of NEC members to be approved by a two-third majority of the members of the National Assembly, the statement said.
 
The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) thus failed to issue a joint statement after their joint committee yesterday at the Senate.
 
The CPP had criticized CNRP for demanding that the election body should be approved by the two-third majority of the 123-seat National Assembly.
 
“The CNRP is willing to continue the dialogue with the CPP, only if the later accepts its above-mentioned requests.”
 
The CNRP believed that any electoral reform must first address the issue of the NEC because this institution is in charge of organizing any election. Therefore, if there is no agreement on the NEC, no credible electoral reform can be conducted, the statement added.
 
As Peter Tan Keo, a Cambodian American Academician said, nearly eight months after a hotly contested election result, Cambodia’s political future seems increasingly bleak though other aspects such as economic and tourism development looks positive.
Some blame the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) for stoking unrest through massive street demonstrations and labor strikes.
 
Others point towards the ruling Cambodian People’s Party’s (CPP) alleged fraud at last July’s elections and subsequent excessive use of force and strong-arm pressure against its political opponents. After a period of sustained restrained which was applauded.
 
This applauds turned to harsh criticisms when deaths resulted from the demonstrations which also were harshly criticizes for taking on a mob mentality from mere protests for higher wages.
The political deadlock, driven by the CNRP’s refusal to join parliament, is testing the limits of Cambodia’s already fragile and flawed democracy. While official election results awarded the CNRP 55 out of 123 National Assembly seats, a major gain from the opposition’s lackluster performance at the 2008 polls, the CNRP believes it won an outright majority and should be allowed to form the government.
 
Since then CNRP and CPP have fenced off with each other with several rounds of talks but agreed to disagree on many terms and demands put forward by each other, especially the CNRP’s demands.
Radical hardliners loyal to the CNRP, ranging from disgruntled youths, garment workers, and human rights activists, bid to become martyrs for freedom as they employ increasingly provocative tactics to force Prime Minister Hun Sen’s resignation and new polls.
 
Mr. Hun’s resignation and new/early polls have been ruled out and are non starters though Mr. Rainsy seems to be telling the whole word this would be a possibility.
 
Striking garment workers responding to a CNRP call to double the minimum wage damaged plant and equipment during their government-directed action. The CNRP had earlier called on its supporters to block roads in a bid to cripple the capital.
 
In response, the CPP has adopted a zero-tolerance policy that emphasizes peace and stability. With 68 representatives in the National Assembly, the CPP has justified its increasingly heavy-handed actions citing various vague security-related laws.
 
Investigations into police shootings and other casualties incurred during recent protests, meanwhile, have stalled.
 
But the ruling party’s use of force in the name of maintaining peace and stability over the past two decades has finally met its match in an equally assertive people’s power.
 
Khmer Times if is of the view that the Government may want to re-consider their zero tolerance policy towards demonstrations by the CNRP or their covert and overt supporters.
 
“The demonstrators and the authorities both know of the consequence. Death will take place for Demonstrators if they turn into raging mobs while for the authorities, an exercise in restrained crowd control if the protests remain vociferous but not violent.
The depth of division between the ruling and opposition parties has polarized the country in ways unseen since the previous debilitating civil war. And both sides unwillingness to meet in the middle has set the stage for a prolonged impasse and environment which could lead to social instability and divert the Government’s attention away from issues such as Preah Vihear and much needed and anticipated reforms.

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