Friday, August 30, 2013

Need the Most Acceptable Solution for Both Sides

The pro-democracy rally

The military police deployments

By ខែ្មរវឌ្ឍនកម្ម

The time is running out for the CPP and the CNRP to solve the post-election crisis that has dragged on for months while the CNRP have softened their demand for the UN from arbiter's role to just observation role along with the Civil Society, but the CPP seem losing their interest to form any independent inquiry to look into this election fraud. But when the CNRP have set their deadline for mass protest, the CPP seem willing to reopen negotiation with the CNRP based on the current election results, which the CNRP have already rejected. The CPP, actually, have interested to negotiate with CNRP for sharing the power in the new National Assembly and creating the new government while the CNRP have demanded justice for the voters first before talking about the new government. To reach an acceptable solution, both sides must make some painful concessions in the next negotiation in order to move the country forward from the current political deadlock.

Before going into this discussion, we must recognize that this election is clearly not free and fair from its start to the end. The opening of the ballot safety boxes is just one small part of the whole systematic fraud verification, and nothing will affect the current election results unless all the ballots will be double checked and recounted. But NEC and the Constitutional Council, which flagrantly controlled by the CPP, have not intended to do so; they have just tried to finish their jobs or to manipulate the public. However, the CNRP have to force themselves to go through this procedure albeit they already knew that these institutions are unable to find them justice. Now the time is coming for the two parties to take a concrete step to breakthrough this political ice burg. The deadline for mass election protests is one week away and for the first new elected parliamentarian session one month away, so the two parties must soften their stand in order to avert such an unforeseen crisis. In such a critical moment, the two parties should search for exit strategies and saving face solutions while the will of the people and the democratic principle still being respected. Keep in mind that in peace negotiation, there is no winner or loser in the process but acceptable outcomes for all the involved parties.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The CPP's Political Ideologies are in Question

The CPP in 1979
The CPP in 2013
By ​​ ខែ្មរវឌ្ឍនកម្ម

​​​​Cambodian People Party (CPP), the oldest political party in Cambodia, is a remnant of the Khmer People Revolutionary Communist party and the Khmer Rouge Regime. The CPP was revitalized and empowered by the Vietnamese invasion in 1979 allowing them to rule the country since then without clear political ideologies beside being faithful to Hanoi. So far, they have won the fifth election with controversial results showing no sign of any less than winning this election no matter what, for the CPP have had no clear political ideologies and the vision for the country but their personal power and wealth.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Remarkable Signs of True Democracy in Cambodia and Myanmar

The CNPR leader, Sam Rainsey
The NLD leader, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar 
The NLD supporters in 2012 election campaign, Myanmar
The CNRP supporters in 2013 election campaign
By ខែ្មរវឌ្ឍនកម្ម

​       Currently the people of Cambodia and Myanmar are struggling their ways toward true democracy in their countries. For Cambodia, the democratic principle implanted by the Paris Peace Accord in 1991 has never prosperously grown to its potential but marred by the ruling party,the CPP which has never had a good will to further democracy instead to lead the country toward dictatorship. For Myanmar, the crackdown on pro-democracy movements, the house arrest of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, and the nullity of election results by the Military Junta in 1989 have held the country backward from a step toward democracy. But now both peoples have determined to bring true democracy for their countries, which they have cried for long enough. Nonetheless, historically, the political situations of the two countries have developed in different context.

       Myanmar, the country that has similar size and the number of population (60 millions) with Thailand, had won its independence from Great Britain in 1948 and embraced itself with democratic principle that had been implanted by the  British Empire. But the country fell under the Junta rule in 1962 when the military coup led by General Ne Win,  had removed President U Nu ( a democratic elected president) from the power accusing him of too much favoring of Buddhism and many ethnic minorities in the country. The Military Junta has ruled the country in authoritarian style with socialism economy by nationalizing all the country mid-size and large businesses while allowing some degree of freedom in religion, small businesses,  organizations, and expression but very limited in politics. In 1989,the collapse of Berlin Wall and subsequently the whole Communist system in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union along with mass protest by the students had sent political messages for the Military Junta to reform their political system by allowing the first meaningful election in the country.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Egypt and Cambodia, the Two Crisis in Distinct Nature

Cambodian pro-democracy peaceful rally
Egyptian angry mob
the Muslim exstrmists fought back with security forces
By ខែ្មរវឌ្ឍនកម្ម

            Cambodia and Egypt currently have faced the serious crisis but in different nature. Cambodia has faced the post-election crisis which caused by the systematic electoral  fraud committed by the ruling party, the CPP and its flagrant NEC. Distinctly, Egypt has faced the post-military coup crisis when the unpopular Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was toppled by the coup, and his supporters demanded to reinstate his presidency unconditionally. Incomparably, the current crisis in Cambodia will not yield in such a terrible outcome as seen in Egypt, for the roots of the problems are so different in nature. Also, the US's reactions toward Cambodia and Egypt's crisis has come up with different tones.
        After gaining independent from Great Britain in 1922 and military coup in 1952 ending the Royal Dynasty of Mohamed Ali, Egypt had been ruled by the quasi one-party system government backed by the military until the Arab Spring 2011 which toppled the authoritarian regime of President Hosni Mubarak who had ruled the country since 1982. During the Arab Spring or the Egypt revolution, the Circular Group spearheaded by the youth Movement along with the Muslim Brotherhood (the powerful underground movement during Mubarak's rule) had worked together to oust President Mubarak, but when the Mubarak's Regime collapsed, the Muslim brotherhood have emerged as the front runner in the first democratic election for the country. Eventually, the Brotherhood candidate, Mohamed Morsi won the run off election with a slim margin. The Circular and the Youth Groups were very disappointed with the election results, for they have felt that the Muslim Brotherhood had hijacked their revolution victory which they had fought hard for, and they also have viewed the new elected Islamist President Morsi as another Mubarak the same as most Cambodian people have branded Hun Sen as another Pol Pot. Nonetheless, the Egyptian people had to swallow the reality, the principle of democracy that they had sacrificed for.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Military Cooperation Postsponement with the US is a Coincidence

The joint ceremony between the US and Cambodian armies
The US Navy Commander visited Cambodia

By ខែ្មរវឌ្ឃនកម្ម

        As Cambodian post-election crisis has intensified, the two parties have warned each other of consequences. The CNRP will call for the nationwide protest if their complaint of election fraud is not fairly investigated by the independent inquiry. In response, Prime Minister Hun Sen has deployed troops to encounter any possible demonstration against the election result. Simultaneously, he has ordered to temporarily suspend all military cooperation with the US and Australia. This coincident action by Hun Sen has raised some unanswered questions among the public. But there are two possible scenarios that have led to such a preposterous action: the fear of people uprising against his long dictatorial rule and a possible military coup from his own military generals.
      The excessive military deployment around the Capital City of Phnom Penh and some parts of the country is the pre-emptive strike Hun Sen has staged in order to intimidate the people to refrain from joining the possible mass protest and to put political pressure on the opposition to budge their demand. This is the conventional rule that Hun Sen has used against the opposition by showing up his forces along with negotiating tactics. If this strategy is unsuccessful, he may go back to his old Samkok Rule: to buy out and to break up the opposition as he had used against Son San party and Funcinpec successfully in the past 20 years. Now his old Samkok Rule seems useless and ineffective, for everyone is well aware of it, and the CNPR elected members are not Funcinpec or Sun San party in the past. Despite most of them are the remnants of the two old parties, but they are well-disciplined, experienced, courageous, and loyal members who have determined to bring change for the people and the country. Nonetheless, now their morale and loyalty are being tested again; we don't know how hard they can stand against the storm of  Hun Sen's Samkok Rule in the next few months; only the time can tell us.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Vietnam vs China Over Cambodia

Chinese President Xi Jinping
Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang

By ខែ្មរវឌ្ឍនកម្ម

        Historically, China used to have good relationship with Cambodia perhaps since prehistory era. Many Khmer Kings or Queens and kingdoms' names were pronounced as Chinese such as Funan, zenla, and King Huntien or Queen Livyi and so on. And during Angkor Era, a famous Chinese Diplomat Chu Daoquan had stayed in the City of Angkor for about a year, and he recorded about the daily lives, culture, and the Khmer court around that time. And after Angkor Era, the relation with China apparently faded away; however, Chinese people came to settle in Cambodia permanently since then. Politically and militarily, during this time Vietnam and Thailand had dominated Cambodia; all Khmer Kings and Queens were crowned by the wishes of the two countries. But after Cambodia gained independence from France in 1953, China's relationship with Cambodia has quickly grown until today. For Vietnam, its century-influence over Cambodia was wiped out overnight when Cambodia was placed under France's protectorate in 1863. But the Vietnamese influence over Cambodia started to re-emerge after the end of World War II, in 1945 until today. Thus, Which country has more influence over the current regime in Cambodia?
       After aggressive economic reform from Communist planing economy to free market economy since 1980, China has proved itself as the second largest economic power in the world, just behind the US. As China economy has grown,  its power and influence have also spread across the region and the world. Cambodia that used to be a friendly state with China over a half a century, now has became a China's staunch ally in the region. In fact, China wants Cambodia to be its springboard in order to convey its political and economic influence into Southeast Asia  and eventually to replace the Soviet-US hegemony in the past. China used to spend billions of dollars to support Cambodian waring factions in the past from 1970 until the Paris Peace Accord 1991.    

Monday, August 12, 2013

Rarely Seen Systematic Electoral Fraud in the World

Voters line up in front of polling station
A man dropped his ballot into the box

By ខែ្មរវឌ្ឍនកម្ម

    Electoral fraud is not uncommon in many countries around the world, but it has happened as isolated and unconventional. Usually election fraud has occurred at counting and projecting a final result or the ruling parties has gained more media's access than the others  such as the election disputes in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Former Yugoslavia, Venezuela, Liberia, Peru, Malaysia, Kanya and so on.  Distinctly, the election fraud in Cambodia has happened as conventional and systematic fraud rarely seen in any country in this world. Because the whole system of electoral process in Cambodia is deeply flaw from the beginning of registration and election campaigns to announcement of the final results.

    The whole election process has been marred by violence, intimidation, unequal media access, vote buying or bride, and the bias of the NEC. during the one month campaigns, the opposition supporters were intimidated, threatened, disrupted, and abused by the ruling party, the CPP. Many opposition activists were injured by throwing stones or other objects at, threatened by firing at the headquarter office, verbal and physical abused when they distributed the party policy fliers, and disrupted campaign processions by using loud speakers or to interrupt the processions from moving forward smoothly.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Show Down Between the Peaceful and Violent Forces

Mobilized troop
Peaceful but powerful forces

By ខែ្មរវឌ្ឍនកម្ម

    When the CNRP has planned mass protests against the unfair election result, Hun Sen has mobilized his troop in order to show up his muscles to the people. At the same time, Sar Kheng has repeatedly warned the opposition of potential severe consequences if the mass protests cause damaged to properties and public order. However, the verbal threats and the show off forces by the CPP will not deter or derail the will of the people who have determined to demand true justice and democracy for the country which has been ruled by the dictatorial regime over 30 years and has shown no sign to relinquish such the power grip.

     The key issue to this stand off between the peaceful and the violent forces is over the disagreement of the UN's involvement in the inquiry on the election fraud that conceivably committed by the CPP and their apparatus, the NEC. The CPP has claimed their victory based on the NEC's unofficial data and the chutzpah on their systematic electoral fraud as the public have witnessed. Meanwhile, the CNRP has claimed their victory too, based on their own data and the fairness of the result. So far, both claimants have firmly stood on their claims which have aggravated the political situation throughout the country. The CNPR have called for the independent inquiry into the serous irregularities with the UN as a mediator, but the CPP has repeatedly nixed the full participation of the UN in the investigation, for they have regarded as illegal action and violation to the country's constitution which clearly states Cambodia is a sovereign state. But the opposition and many political observers have not bought this CPP's justification and considered it as their political excuse to block the creation of the true independent inquiry. The CNRP has insisted the UN's full role as the mediator whom they have had only trust with.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Khmer Nationalism vs. Racism

A Symbol of Khmer Nationalism

 Khmer National Identity
By ខែ្មរវឌ្ឍនកម្ម

  The words nationalism and racism are completely different in meanings and in practices, but some people have still confused the meanings of these two terms. Nationalism is always being promoted  and glorified by all the leaders around the world while at the same time, they have rejected racism. If the leaders lose sense of nationalism, those leaders are easily manipulated and swindled by the others. Nationalism is the covert agenda in international relations among the leaders around the world. Conversely, racism is totally nixed and condemned by all world leaders even though it had been practised in the past by some countries.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Can the Current Crisis Lead to the Similar 2000's Post-election Crisis in Former Yugoslvia?

Former Yugoslavia President Sloboban Milosevic
Strong Man Hun Sen
By ខែ្មរវឌ្ឍនកម្ម

    As our post election crisis has aggravated toward the stand off between the oppositions and strong man Hun Sen, this situation can turn into the 2000's post-election crisis in former Yugoslavia, but it may turn into unpredictable outcome. Former President Sloboban Milosevic had ruled the former Yugoslavia from 1987 to 2000 before he was forced to step down by mass protests on accusation of election fraud. Mr. Milosevic had claimed himself as a winner with slim margin and demanded for a runoff election, but the opposition leader, Mr. Kostunica totally rejected Milosevic's demand and claimed he is the real winner. As the time has dragged on, hundreds thousands of protesters pouring into the Belgrade Square demanding President Milosevic to step down immediately. At the turning point, the protesters stormed the Parliament Building, state-run TV station, and  other command centers that caused Milosevic's patronage system to break down along with most security forces switched side to the oppositions. As Milosevic was pushed down to the corner, there was no guarantee exit for him but to step down without conditions.
      Is this the pre-image of the current crisis in Cambodia? No body knows for sure, but in the event that the current political deadlock has dragged on--the disagreement over the UN's role in the inquiry committee, the oppositions will have no choice but to call for the nationwide demonstrations in order to defense the rights and the will of the people as they had promised. And if Hun Sen and his party, the CPP have done nothing wrong as they claimed, they should not fear to let the UN's full participation in this inquiry. A small concession by Hun Sen can help to avert the country from this deep crisis and to reduce his political risk in the near unforeseen future. The real images of the post-election crisis in former Yugoslavia can be replayed in Cambodia if Hun Sen has continued to reject the will of the people as they clearly have spoken out that they cannot bear another five-years rule of his dictatorship.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Reality Check: The US Electoral System Vs. the Cambodia Electoral System

US Federal Election Commission, independence and professionalism

By ខែ្មរវឌ្ឍនកម្ម

Election is the most common form used by the peoples around the world to choose their leaders to run the daily works for their country. However, in some countries, election is being manipulated by leaders or a group as a mean to legitimize their dictatorial rule. Namely,the election in Cambodia has been manipulated by the ruling party, the CPP in order to maintain their long term grip of power. In the Western Democracy, especially the US, the election process and results are nearly perfect and highly reflected to the will of American People. In contrast, the election process and the results in Cambodia are totally not reflected to the will of Cambodian people and so far away from western electoral standard. The following are the political and electoral systems of the the two countries.

The US Government and electoral systems:
-The form of government: Federal government with 50 states
-Political system: presidential system--the president is a head of state as well as the head of the government
-Electoral system: a single- member district:  only one seat to contest per district
-The president is elected every four years for two term limits from two major parties-- the Democrat and Republican with many smaller parties
-The senators are elected every six years and the House of Representative Members elected every two years without term limits.
-The electoral system is run by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Secretary of State in each of 50 states along with the State Canvasing Board
-The Federal election Commission administers and  enforces the election laws-- disclose financial information, limits and prohibition on contribution, and oversee public funding for presidential election.
-The FEC comprising of six members appointed by the President and confirmed by Senators to six years term.
-The Secretary of State in each state is the chief election officer and elected to four years term
-The Secretary of State is also the chair of the State Canvasing Board that has a duty to certify all election results.
-The State Canvassing Board has five members: two state supreme court judges, two district judges, and a Secretary of the State
-The Secretary of State works closely with county and local election officials, supervises vote registration, recount and other election disputes before going to court
-All ballots are counted by machines, any disputed result will be recount by hands
-The federal election Commission and the State election Boards are highly independent and professional up to standard and gain well trust from all parties and the people

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Reality Check: Can the CPP and the CNRP Break this Political Deadlock?

By ខែ្មរវឌ្ឍនកម្ម
  After  heat up exchanges of accusations and threats on each other, the CPP and the CNPR have formally agreed to create a joint independent committee comprising of the two political parties, the NEC, and observation roles from the civil society and the UN in order to investigate the widespread electoral fraud throughout the country. This is the first positive step to calm down the complicate situation after the CNRP and the people across the country have strongly rejected the provisional election results announced by the NEC and the CPP. nevertheless, to break this political deadlock, both parties must show their political will and honesty in order to solve this problem successfully.

The political will of the CPP
-To win this election by all means
-To negotiate with the CNRP for sharing power in the new government
-Reject all foreigner involvements in the electoral inquiry committee while accepted the limited observation role of the UN
-To create the government alone
-Threaten to take away all the CNRP's seats and handle them to other parties if the CNRP boycott the first session of the National Assembly
-Threaten to organize their counter-demonstration against the CNRP's led demonstration
-Call for the people to stay away or not to join the CNRP's protests
-Expect to use maintaining rule and social order as an excuse to send the troops to crack down the protesters  as had seen in the past.
-Claim to win this election with 68 seats to 55 seats based on their own and the NEC's unofficial data
-Will create the same old government like the current one as we have already witnessed over 20 years

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Reality Check: Which Party is in Favor of Winning this Election?

By ខែ្មរវឌ្ឍនកម្ម

      Depending on our judgement and the reliable data, which party is in favor of winning this election?
-The CPP have claimed their victory over this election based on their own and the NEC's data-- 68 seats to 55 seats.
-The CNRP have also claimed this election victory based on their own reliable data from all polling stations throughout the country--63 seats to 60 seats without verifying on numerous irregularities yet.     The following factors have led both parties to claim the same victory:

The CPP's Strength:
-The oldest political party in the country, created in 1951 as the Khmer Revolutionary Communist Party originated from the Indochina Communist Party founded by Ho Chi Minh in 1930.
-Well-prepared and strong built network of support from grassroots up all over the country
-No new introduced policies but maintain the current ones and proud of their achievement
-All levels of local administrations from group leaders, village chiefs to provincial governors, military, police, courts under the CPP's control
-The CPP controlled NEC is the state apparatus to guarantee the CPP continuous victory.
-Financial strength-- the CPP get millions of dollars of financial support from their rich business tycoons, Okya and high government officials in exchange for their business privilege and positions
-Superior media access-- all TV stations, most radios and news papers under the CPP's control
-Election manipulation-- set up systematic electoral fraud via the NEC throughout the country, creating ghost lists, double and triple name lists, deleting voters' names suspected of the opposition supporters, making them difficult to register and to find polling stations, buying votes, and intimidation.

The CPP's weakness
-Has been installed by Vietnam and has ruled the country since 1979,  long enough for the people
-Most people have viewed that the CPP is a tool of Hanoi to swallow Cambodia in the near future, as witnessed in this election--All Vietnamese were allowed to vote freely while many Khmers had no names to vote.
-The CPP-run government is among the most corrupted regimes in the world
-Dictatorship, ruled by one man
-Unequal economic growth, the rich get richer while the poor struggle to survive
-No social justice for all, only a small privilege group
-Miscalculate the support from the people, especially the youths, Believing that power can create money and money can make black to White and white to black: a mentality of the CPP
-Lost faith and support from the people in all levels

The CNRP's strength
-Unity between the two democratic parties--the Sam Rainsey and the Human Rights Parties
-Gain popular support from all over the country
-Create the great 7 point policies for the people and the country
-promise justice, true democracy, and real independence for the country
-Restore Khmer sovereignty
-Gain strong support from all Khmer oversea and international community
-Financial strength : get financial support from regular members and donation from Khmer oversea
-Media access : get some coverages from independent radios and newspapers inside the country, many foreign radios such RFA, VOA, and FIR but dominated  on Internet network and social media --Facebook, Youtubes, tweeters and so on.
-Most election campaign done by volunteer works

The CNRP's weakness
-New created party
-No big sources of financial support
-No equal media access
-The party leader was barred from candidacy and vote
-Not enough time for the party president to campaign
-The party's activists are constantly harassed and intimidated by the CPP's supporters
-Not well-prepared and organized, for most works done by volunteers
-The party's unity has not reached out to all other Khmer group or parties -- the 6 other smaller parties have wasted about a half million votes that the CNRP needed to win a decisive victory.

Based on the above factors, can you (the reader) express your opinion on which party is in your favor to win this election? The CPP or the CNRP ?