Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Possible Political Solution is in Sight

The CNRP 's elected lawmakers

The CPP's elected lawmakers
By ខែ្មរវឌ្ឍនកម្ម

After nearly two months of defending their controversial election victory which has been officially rejected by the opposition, Hun Sen and his CPP have unilaterally wrapped up their wily game by creating the new government and the power structure in the new National Assembly without the participation from the CNRP. Such a bold move has put the new government into question among the people and the international community. However, this is a reality that the opposition have faced when the whole system in the country from village chief up to the King are under the CPP's control. There is no free and fair political atmosphere for the CNRP to move on but probably to capitulate with them at the end. Even though both sides have opened the doors for further negotiations, but the CNRP seem have not much leverages to maneuver against the heavy weight CPP any more. Any tough stand against the CPP will be more risky than beneficial for the party and the people, but to continue negotiation with the CPP may produce a more acceptable solution and benefit for the party in a long run. Now the CPP has divulged its offer while the CNRP has announced that any solution that protects the interest of the people will be considered.

After trading of accusations on each other for violating the constitution during the first session of the parliament without the CNRP present, the two parties have summed up their political rhetoric with opening the door for further talks. This is a positive sign that a possible solution may be found in the near future if both sides are willing to search for it. Now Hun Sen has clearly stated that he would offer one vice president of the parliament position, four chair committee posts, and five vice-chair committee posts to the opposition while the CNPR demanded the president position and six chair committee posts. Please keep in mind that this is not a procedure of sharing the power like the previous coalition government in the last four terms but a negotiation solely to create a power mechanism in the parliament that have to be done between the opposition and the ruling party which is in practice in all the democratic countries around the world. But in Cambodia when the whole system of the government demanded to be reformed, the opposition also need all such necessary power in order to overhaul the progress of the reform especially the total reform of the NEC and the election process. Hun Sen should reconsider the president of the National Assembly position for the opposition if he wants a meaningful and concrete reform and a check and balance of power in his new government, but to reform the system on his own term by threatening his own officials not to commit malfeasance and without the opposition overhaul will be feeble and incompatible to the democratic principle.

As the country urgently needs a new government with a reform minded leader, the two parties should resume their talks based on the best interest of the people and a spirit of national reconciliation. According to the offers and demands from the both parties, we have seen that their positions are not far away from reaching at least a possible solution for the country. If the two sides make a little bid more concession, they will definitely reach their final solution. The CNRP may accept the vice president post--because Hun Sen fears of paralyzing his government without full cooperation from the president of the National Assembly-- but kept with the six chair committee they had demanded, and the CPP may retains the president post but have to cede two more chair committee to fulfill the opposition's demand. And CNRP must get the key committee chairs namely International Relation, justice, Interior, Security, Financial, and Human Rights Committee that give them needed leverages to overhaul the government activities and reforms. The CNRP's demand for leadership in the parliament without prior statement has create a good opportunity for Hun Sen to vilify his opponents for insincere with the people, for they negotiate with him to demand the parliament president position rather than to demand the independent inquiry, and he has threatened to reveal more records from the closed door negotiations.  But This trick is not new to the public; Hun Sen had previously used this trick against prince Ranarith and Kem Sokha by secretly recording the conversations and revealing it when he needed to divide the public opinions. In fact, the CNRP is rightful and deserves the leadership positions in the parliament, for the people overwhelmingly voted for them in order to bring change to the country. And the CNRP needed to search all possible solutions that help finding justice for the people. We expect the public will not distract and dismay by this malicious attack by Hun Sen because it is his usual tactic but a dirty trick to play against his opponents.

 Certainly, the people have their rightful demand to get transparency from the politicians, but in conventional rules and practices, most politicians even in the most democratic countries have to exercise some degree of their secrecy. From congressmen to presidential offices, they rarely reveal all their contents or details to the public and the presses before negotiating with their counterparts to reach an agreement first; every government and political party have to maintain their classified information. Hence the CNRP's negotiation with the CPP without disclosing all the contents to the public is not unusual but a conventional rule practised by all politicians in this real world. Yet, the CNRP is still the most transparent political party compared to the CPP and other parties. After each of three meetings with the CPP, Sam Rainsey, Kim Sokha, and Yim Sovann reported the progress of the negotiation directly to the people on the Democracy Park, and also aired on the RFA and other media. Actually, they answered very detail and on the point of question in compare to Phai Siphan, Cheang Vun and the other CPP officials who always tried to distract and to play down with the questions from the RFA moderator. The CNRP has  publicly demanded a balance of power in the new parliament even it did not disclosed along with the key demand, and it is a conventional tactic of negotiation when the parties try to search and reach some agreements that they can do and leave the differences for further talks. Hitherto, the CNRP has neither dropped nor swapped the key demand of independent inquiry yet, but if this demand is not successful, it may try to search other possible solutions that attribute to finding justice for the people.

To capitulate with Hun Sen and his CPP doesn't mean the CNRP totally surrendered with them but to work with them with a clear condition in order to push for a concrete reform with the new government. To stay out of the parliament will create more opportunity for the CPP to oppress the people without help, and the voices of the people will not equally represent in the National Assembly. The CNRP needs to look to its bright future ahead; it may sacrifice and soften its demands for sometime, for the current situation is not suitable for the party to act accordingly, but the CNRP may use this juncture to bargain for the positions the party absolutely needed to continue its struggle to bring true democracy, justice and full sovereignty for the country. To work with the CPP in the parliament in such a current condition is an undesirable choice for the CNRP, but in the country where all aspects of the society are under one man or one party's control has no many options left for the opposition. Nevertheless, the opposition now have a better chance to start their reform from ground zero up; the election process and judiciary reforms must be the top priority for the opposition in the next mandate of the legislature if any political solution is acceptable for them to join the parliament in the future. They must work to fix the election process first before participating in the next election, and if this system is completely fixed to normal standard, their bright future is waiting ahead for them in the next municipal election.

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