Thursday, July 25, 2013

The World Longest Serving Prime Minister Sees his Dead End

By ខែ្មរវឌ្ឍនកម្ម

     Since the Paris Peace Accord in 1991, which was officially ended a long protracted war in Cambodia, there were many rival Khmer leaders competed one other to rule the country. But those many familiar faces have disappeared from Cambodia political arena except Prime Minister Hun Sen who has already  set a record for the longest serving prime minister in Asia and in the world if he wins again in this election. However, the record serving time as prime minister of Hun Sen has come up with many controversial questions.
   When Vietnam had invaded Cambodia in 1979, they installed two Khmer Prime Ministers previous to Hun Sen, Mr. Pen Sovann and Mr. Chan Chi. But these two Khmer leaders had lost their trust from Hanoi, and Mr. Pen Sovann found himself in Hanoi's jail in 1981 for more than a decade while Mr. Chan Chi was dead in Vietnam in 1985 without clear explanation. In order to occupy Cambodia successfully, Vietnam needed the faithful Khmer leaders to cooperate with them as their emperors needed the Khmer faithful Kings in the past. By 1985, Hun Sen, a young vocal foreign minister was anointed by Hanoi as the new Khmer Prime Minister to run the country while the war between the Khmer Resistant Groups and the Vietnamese Army was intensified. To win the guerrilla warfare in Cambodia, Hanoi used all strategic war plans which they had employed during their war against the US and  its South Vietnamese ally in the past.

    But Hanoi's strategic war plan in Cambodia known as ( K-5 Plan) turned into an other killing field for Khmer after Pol Pot's Regime. As a prime minister, Hun Sen well cooperated and executed this war plan with Vietnamese troop. The K-5 Plan imposed by Hanoi forced ten thousands of Khmer to build the military bases and bunkers for Vietnamese troop along the Thai-Cambodian borders. Also this plan involving forcing Khmer workers to cut and clear the forest all over the country, where the Vietnamese troop regarded as the effective shelters for the Khmer guerrillas. As result, thousand of Khmer workers were killed by stepping on the land mines, malaria, and malnutrition, and over work. This onslaught K-Plan was previously rejected by the two Prime Minsters Pen Sovann and Chan Chi who had seen this plan as an other killing field for Khmer people after Pol Pot. However, the new Prime Minister Hun Sen did not hesitate to execute this plan,  and eventually he had earned big trust from Hanoi.
    As the war was on an unsettled stage, the pressure from the international communities, and the collapse of the Soviet Union along with the Communist bloc had created a more favorable environment for peace negotiation for all Khmer warring factions. At this time, Hun Sen was on the  very watchful eyes from Hanoi, he was set up by Hanoi as a team leaders for peace negotiation with the Khmer Resistant Government led by former King Sihanouk.  Hun Sen was required to report all progress directly to Hanoi in person or by telephone. When the Paris Peace Agreement was signed by all rival parties including other 19 countries, Hun Sen was praised by Vietnam as their most faithful Khmer leader in modern history. Nonetheless, Hun Sen still had big job ahead to work on -- to win the election supervised by the UN. The first preemptive strike from Sen Sen was to neutralize his potential opponent, namely King Sihanouk. Hun Sen proclaimed and recognized King Sihanouk as the head of state of his regime, and at the same time gave the deputy prime minister position to Prince Chakropong, a son of King Sihanouk, in order to weaken the Forncenpec Party which had just emerged from the Thai-Cambodan border jungle.
   The 1993 UN sponsored election had produced no decisive victory for the Forncenpec Party, and created an  opportunity for Hun Sen to bargain power with Prince Ranarith, a leader without principle. Ranarith agreed with Hun Sen to share power in a new government by creating two equal first and second prime minister posts which ever never used in any form of government in the world. The two head government had never walked in the same direction, creating distrust from each other. As expected, Hun Sen launched a bloody coup against his Co-Prime Minister Ranarith, hundreds of the Prince's supporters were killed and executed in gruesome. As the international pressure mounted, Hun Sen let the Prince who fled the country during the coup, returned to contest the next election that produced a clear victory for Hun Sen as a sole prime minister. However, the goal of Hun Sen is not just to weaken his opponents but to destroy and to wide them out from the political stage. This is the new Hanoi's strategic plan in Cambodia. In order to control Khmer permanently, they have to eliminate all  Khmer oppositions at all means.   The Son San and  Forncenpec Parties were smashed in pieces, and numerous attempts on the Sam Rainsey Party but not only unsuccessful, instead even made this party stronger.
   The newly created Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) emerged from the Sam Rainsey and Human Right parties has attracted a great support from all people over the country especially among the youths. The return of Mr. Rainsey from his four years exile created a historical event for the country as ten thousands of people cheerfully walked to greet him from the airport with chancing a slogan of "change change change". As election campaigns drawn to close, Sam Rainsey attempted to use his short time in the country to garner more support from all provincial towns throughout the country. Ten thousands of people have flocked to see and listen to his speech with cheer and hope without fear from any kind of intimidation from Hun Sen's regime.
     The election at this time is a closed call between the CPP led by Hun Sen and the CNRP led by Sam Raisey. Most people believe that if this election held in a free and fair environment, Sam Rainsey will be definitely a clear winner. But, according to many different sources for the election campaign observation, there are widespread intimidation on the opposition supporters and voting manipulation by the NEC all over the country. If the result will not reflect to the will of the people or rigged by Hun Sen, the opposition as well as the international communities will not recognize him as a winner and his new government will lose legitimacy to rule the country. Eventually, his record setting time as the longest serving prime minister will fall into trouble.


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