ACADEMICS and a government officials yesterday concluded that national reconciliation between the ruling CPP and the court dissolved CNRP is unlikely to happen any time soon.
Their conclusion came after some political analysts and CNRP supporters speculated that a recently held noodle party was a prelude to national reconciliation.
The academics yesterday held a meeting to discuss the topic of “what will happen if Sam Rainsy returns to Cambodia” at the Royal Academy of Cambodia in Phnom Penh.
Mr Rainsy, former opposition leader in exile, has been hinting that he could return to the Kingdom in order to advocate for democracy and the release of Kem Sokha at the end of the year.
The academics and the government official concluded that if Mr Rainsy were to return to the Kingdom, national reconciliation would unlikely happen, unless Prime Minister Hun Sen files a Royal Pardon request for all exiled CNRP supporters, including Mr Rainsy.
“I think if they can unite, it’ll be better, but if [Sam Rainsy] still causes trouble, then national reconciliation may not happen,” Sum Chhum Bun, vice president of the RAC said. “National reconciliation and the Win-Win Policy cannot be used if one side closes the gate.”
“I think it’s very difficult because [Sam Rainsy] always enrages Samdech Hun Sen, which makes the situation even more tense,” he added.
He noted that Mr Rainsy would not return to the Kingdom by the end of the year.
“[Sam Rainsy] said he wanted to return to the Kingdom to have Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has full power, detained. He also incites the military to rebel,” Mr Chhum Bun said. “Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen’s patience is limited, it’s not like in 2013 or 2015.”
In the past, Mr Rainsy was pardoned twice after Mr Hun Sen requested for a Royal Pardon from King Norodom Sihamoni.
Government spokesman Phay Siphan said during the discussion that broken promises hinder reconciliation between both camps.
“CNRP leaders used to make promises to stop attacking others and instead respect each other,” Mr Siphan said. “But they still caused trouble, accused us of being puppets and that we ‘sold our sovereignty’.”
RAC president Sok Touch said during the discussion that exiled former opposition leaders will face arrest if they return to the Kingdom without a pardon from the King.
“Reconciliation can be done once or twice, any more would make it seem ineffective,” Mr Touch said. “Politicians cannot just attack each other and then call for reconciliation.”
“How can they come together when Sam Rainsy wants to take revenge on Hun Sen and have him arrested,” he added.