Strategic Confidence and Trusts Key

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PHNOM PENH, March 16: (Khmer Times) –Strategic Confidence and trust are the keys to political settlement and as long as the CPP and the CNRP concretely agree on the terms of reforms for reforms, there is no necessity for the opposition to boycott the National Assembly.
Dr. Chheang Vannarith, Senior Researcher at the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace  (CICP), in response on NEC Reforms and it timing said: ” Reforms of the NEC and its timing is a matter of independent, objective and scientific evaluation of the institution.  The performance of the NEC determines the legitimacy of the elected government.”
He adds that to put pre conditions to reforms were also not a workable solution as it is clear and apparent that while both parties wanted to have reforms to the electoral body, they could not agree on the modalities.
” Political compromise is necessary. The opposition is determined to call for an early election. It is therefore difficult for both sides to reach consensus on this as the bar is being put at very high level by the opposition.”
Furthermore, the Constitution also does not allow it as rightly pointed out by  the Government as capitulating to this demand could very well lead to a situation similar to Thailand where  elections could be called at any times and government’s dissolved at any time and Prime Minister stripped of his post for trivial matters.
Dr. Vannarith added that it was impractical for salaries or wages to undergo a massive hike as these were not only sustainable but also impractical.
“It (salary/wage hikes)  should be a gradual process. Peaceful settlement of the disputes and negotiation should continue based on the interests of all parties concerned and not on a confrontational mode as emotions will rule the day and not on sound fundamentals or economic principles.”
Dr. Vannarith was asked to comment on Mr. Sam Rainsy’s threat   Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) would stop negotiation with the Cambodian People’s Party if there is no agreement on reform of members of National Election Committee (NEC). 
He adds that political disunity continues to be a threat to national peace, stability, economic development and poverty reduction. 
“If this problem is not solved, it will lead further to political polarization and social fragmentation, adversely affecting economic development and foreign direct investment.”
Both the CPP and the CNRP agree that the public institutions must be reformed to better serve the interests of the people and increase economic competitiveness and development. 
However, in the context of a post-election political crisis as a result of a disputed election, political accommodation and arrangement between the two parties need to be accomplished first.
“t is time for the politicians to get united and work together towards a brighter future Cambodia. Nothing is too late; everything is possible, as long as there is a political will,” Dr. Vannarith said to  Khmer Times.
 Governments may not appear to take notice of public protest, but this is a populist era and through this, people can be sure they are at least keeping their eyes and ears open.
However, this does not mean that daily street protests descending into chaos and violence is the way forward to achieve this.

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