Civil Society Groups Call for Common Goals

Civil society leaders are urging the three main political par­ties to establish common goals and resolve the current political standoff for the sake of the nation.

Representatives from the Cen­ter for Social Development and the human rights group Licadho said Monday that Cambodia deserves a government that prioritizes people, not power.

“The three political parties right now, they are sharing the power rather than discussing a joint national platform to work together on when the government is formed,” Center for So­cial Development Director Chea Vannath said.

A common political platform is cru­cial to a healthy government, she said, as a divided policy may lead to name-calling and finger-point­ing. “If there is no joint political platform agreement between the three political parties before forming the government, they will ac­­cuse each other when they commit something wrong,” Chea Vannath said.

The platform should prioritize poverty reduction, border issues, illegal immigration and wage raises for civil servants, she said.

Licadho Director Kek Galabru also urged political parties to put their differences aside and unite over a tough judicial system and a domestic violence law.

“We…don’t care whether the government is formed by one, two or three parties, as long as they keep their promises,” Kek Ga­labru said Tuesday. “They have to think of the national interest before the party interest.”

Chea Vannath said the government must improve its productivity and effectiveness, which she said are minimal. “Those officials think only about the reshuffling of their position and sharing power. Right now, it is seriously unstable.”

The political deadlock not only is causing bureaucratic problems within the capital, Chea Vannath said, but is trickling into the pro­v­inces as well.

“In the provinces and remote areas, it is very unsafe to travel, and the gangsters are using drugs. There isn’t any measures taken by the government to reduce the problems,” she said.

The center does not blame the parties for the political impasse, but rather considers the situation a “growing pain” of democratization.

But the CPP, Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party have a lot of ma­­turing to do, Chea Vannath said.

“The three political parties, especially the CPP, are not old enough in political affairs, because the parties always ask the King to intervene. The parties should meet first before asking the King for help,” she said. The center has no preference for prime minister, so long as the premier works for the betterment of the people.

Alliance of Democrats spokes­man Ung Bun-Ang said royalist and opposition parties have sculpted a joint political platform to shape a national agenda. He blamed the CPP for the political standoff.

CPP spokesman Khieu Kanha­rith said his party’s top priority is not a political platform but the con­vening of Saturday’s scheduled National Assembly meeting.   “They shouldn’t conclude those crimes are [due to a] political standoff,” he said. “Crimes always exist. Our policemen still work.”


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