Thursday, May 15, 2014

CPP shows up forces while CNRP grows more popularity on campaign

CNRP's Campaign in Phnom Penh (image Sam Rainsy's Facebook)

CPP's troops blocked CNRP's campaign procession in Kompong Cham (image Cambodia Daily)

In this unusual municipal election campaign though five political parties registered to contest, only one party, CNRP, has swept its aggressive election campaigns throughout the country.  The CNRP, which has still challenged the previous national election result with the CPP, uses this opportunity to reclaim that its still gains stronger support from youths and all levels of people, and such a momentum never die down any time soon unless the current perverted regime changed.  Despite those commune councilors are more likely to vote with their party line, the showcase of CNRP's popularity will affect some CPP's members who can weather temptation from their superiors to have a second thought how their votes would affect the people's life and the fate of the nation.  However, the CPP which flagrantly has experiences in intimidation and vote buying not only with its own members but with all other parties, there are not much chances for its councilors to switch their allegiances.  But any fractional number of the CPP's members who dare to vote for the CNRP will prove the CPP's fate in the near future.

It has been so surprised to many people since at this municipal election campaign the CPP has chosen not to launch any campaign while its main rival, the CNRP, has swept its campaign across the nation.  Instead of election campaign, the CPP has shown up its forces, deploying polices and military personnel to intimidate and disrupt the CNRP's campaigns.  On the first day of election campaign many CNRP supporters were beaten up by security forces when they tried to reach a forbidden Freedom Park.  In Campong Cham and Prey Veng Provincial Towns, military personnel carrying AK-47 and on military vehicles stopped and intimidated the CNRP's campaign processions toward the inner cities.  In Kompong Chnang Provincial Town, the City Governor used loud speaker on rented vehicles to disrupt the CNRP's campaign rally, urging people not to join the opposition rally and accusing them of inciting unrest and calling them "Puok Akatek" no conscience people or reactionaries--a typical communist rhetoric against their enemies.

Although government 's ban, intimidation, and interruptions by CPP's supporters, the CNRP's election campaign has continued smoothly later on, and CNRP's Vice President Kem Sokha called it a victory for the CNRP when intimidation by security forces seems disappear in the last few days as they continued to defy government's ban until it was finally lift it.  Though technically the CNRP campaigns for municipal election, its goal and scope go more farther from that point.  As political negotiation with the adamant CPP to resolve the post-election crisis due to massive fraud by the CPP has stalled over the past nine months, the CNRP has tried all its leverages squeezing the CPP to agree with its minimum demand: to restructure election system and conduct new general election.  This is a sticking point that the CPP should accept it in order to end a protracted political crisis.  Thus, the current CNRP's election campaigns are likely to produce double results--to lure more supports from the CPP's councilors and to prove its strong supports from the people and its popularity to the CPP in the next round of negotiation.

For the CPP, an absence of its election campaign doesn't mean it gives up since this election is a predictable result-election.  The CPP strongly expected that its more than 8,000 councilors would vote for their party as they had done previously.  Such an assurance is confirmed by power and money.  Through past experiences the CPP's low and high ranked members rarely defected to join other parties, for fearing of their personal repercussion: losing jobs, title, status, and even death threats.  furthermore, money is a simple mean to buy them out, for the councilors who receive salary less than $100 a month, it is too hard for them to escape from such a temptation.  As Cheam Yeap, a senior CPP member, had confirmed with Phnom Penh Post that all CPP's councilors were rewarded with undisclosed amount of money during the Khmer New Year for their hard work and loyalty to the party as the municipal election is drawing closer.  Therefore, the CPP doesn't need to spend moneys on the campaign but to save those moneys to buy them out is much easier.

Intimidation and vote buying have become political culture for Hun Sen and his party over the past 20 years, and such a bad culture will not disappear any time soon without the current regime changed.  For the CNRP, there is not much room left to confront with the adamant CPP since it has adopted a non-violence mean to remove the corrupted regime from power and regarded violence mean as a counterproductive to the party, meaning that the CPP, which has controlled all police and army, will use any form of violence initiated by the CNRP as a good excuse to destroy the CNRP' leadership.  Therefore, political negotiation is an inevitable mean in solving the current crisis, but the CNRP needs more leverage in order to counterweight with the CPP to agree with its decent demand: to reform the current deeply flawed election system and redo the general election; this is the least and feasible demand that the CNRP must stick with it in any political compromise with the CPP in a near future.  The consistent momentum demanding for the regime changed from all levels of the people, particularly the youths has created an enormous leverage for the CNRP in future negotiation with the CPP, and if any possible free and fair general election take places in the near future, the CNRP will definitely win a landslide victory because the demand for regime changed has grown more popularity in all levels of the people in the country.

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