Friday, April 11, 2014

Sam Rainsy May Fall into Hun Sen's Political Trap


A surprised announcement by both Hun Sen and Sam Rainsy over political agreement on election reform and re-election date has made most Cambodian people inside and outside the country dismayed since the news keep coming up sometimes contradictory and sometimes unbelievable.  When everyone heard Hun Sen said that Sam Rainsy had agreed with him to set election date for commune council on February 2017 and parliamentarians on February 2018, they were stunned and presumed that now Sam Rainsy is an another Ranaridh.  But the news turned to be unconfirmed though Hun Sen insisted he would reveal a voice record.  At the same time, Sam Rainsy clarified that he just surveyed how far Hun Sen could go and took his proposals for further discussion with Kem Sokha and the CNRP's Central Committee.  However, what Sam Rainsy has done may damage his credibility further as some of CNRP's supporters have discontented with the CNRP leadership who have shown its softer stand and too far comprise with the CPP already.  A political development in the past few days not only made the CNRP's supporters dismayed but clearly revealed how poor the CNRP communicates and coordinates among the top leadership members.  To rebuild trust with its supporters, the CNRP must review all its bylaws and policies learning to speak the language in line with the party's policy and focus on what is the best interest for the people and the nation.

Now Hun Sen has spotted opportunity using his combined strategy of intimidation and temptation to get Sam Rainsy agreed with his term.  First, he arrogantly threatened to bring Sam Rainsy to court for offending the king in his private letter informing the king about a current political impasse, but the king found nothing offended in Sam Rainsy's letter, then Hun Sen turned to Sam Rainy's violation on the constitutional council's decision. But as his campaign against Sam Rainsy lost steam, Hun Sen spotted another opportunity when Kem Sokha was out of the country, he tried to tempt Sam Rany to accept his proposals.  Though Sam Rainsy denied any agreement on new election date with him, Hun Sen publicly declared that he and Sam Rainsy had agreed on the new election date and blamed kem Sokha if this agreement could not be signed.  Hun Sen's goal is ostensibly to break up the CNRP's leadership and to force them to agree on his term.

Sam Rainsy well understands about Hun Sen ruthless behavior since he used to be a victim of Hun Sen 's abuse for many times, and now he should learn to deal with him with high precaution every step he has walked close to him.  Sam Rainsy should not agree or support any Hun Sen's proposal prior to discussion with his deputy Kem Sokha and the party central committee.  So far, Sam Rainy has shown some disconnection with the party when he spoke of 80 to 90 percent done deal with Hun Sen while Kem Sokha and the whole party leadership seem not well informed about that.  Such a bad communication has shown disunity in the party and created more opportunity for Hun Sen to break up the party since Hun Sen's words are clearly intend to do so when he said, " If his presumed agreement with Sam Rainsy failed to get signed, don't blamed on him or Sam Rainsy but on Kem Sokha."   Sam Rainsy should remember that in 1998 Hun Sen completely destroyed an Alliance for Democracy between Sam Rainsy Party and Forncinpec when he had been in France, Hun Sen secretly struck a deal with Ranaridh to form another coalition government.  Now Hun Sen spotted that opportunity again while Kem Sokha was in the US, Hun Sen quickly contacted Sam Rainsy to strike a deal, and if Sam Rainsy is not strong enough to stand with Hun Sen's intimidation and temptation, he will fall into Hun Sen's trap as if Ranaridh in the past.

As negotiation to end the current political deadlock is inevitable, the CNRP should move with high precaution, for the CNRP has already made too much concession from dropping a key demand of independent inquiry into election fraud and Hun Sen's resignation to keep only re-election and electoral system reform.  Any agreement with Hun Sen to set election date on February 2017 for the commune and 2018 for the parliamentary elections is meaningless for the CNRP and their supporters since at least seven innocent lives had been lost and more than 100 people had injured for the cause of demanding justice for voters, so any agreement that doesn't reflect the will of people is unacceptable.  Despite the two parties need sometimes to fix an election system and to organize their campaigns, it may not take more than a year to do so if the CPP has a political will.  So the best time for the new election or midterm election must be set in February 2015 for commune and February 2016 for the parliament.  The CNRP must stick with around this time, the sooner the better since the current government is only a caretaker government in a transitional period while an election dispute has not been settled yet.

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