Country’s Democracy Weakened Last Year: Adhoc

The political climate in Cam­bodia shifted last year, with the CPP further consolidating power as democratic institutions weakened and other parties became more divided, local rights group Adhoc said in its 2006 report launched Wednesday.

The report also said that land disputes escalated and noted little progress in freedom of expression over the year, other than the removal of jail sentences for de-famation.

Divisions within Funcinpec and new cooperation between the SRP and CPP has led to a “very worrying” political imbalance, Adhoc said.

“Democratic space will shrink as…the country continues to be dominated by one ruling party,” Thun Saray, Adhoc president, said during a press conference to launch the report.

While most political confrontation in 2005 was between the CPP and the SRP, the main struggle in 2006 was between the ruling party and Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Adhoc said.

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said the fact that there are multiple political parties in Cambodia is proof of democracy.

SRP Secretary-General Mu So­chua said the SRP has not compromised its basic principles. “The SRP continues to be very firm, very vocal,” she added.

Funcinpec spokesman Nouv Sovathero said that his party is better off without Prince Ranariddh, and that Funcinpec cooperates with the CPP for the good of the Cambodian people.

Norodom Ranariddh Party spokes­man Muth Channtha said Funcinpec takes orders from the CPP. “That is why the political space is narrow and smaller,” he said.


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