Opposition leader Sam Rainsy told expatriate Cambodian supporters in Paris on Wednesday that the so-called “culture of dialogue” between the government and CNRP will lead their party to victory in the 2018 election.
The new political culture, which Mr. Rainsy and Prime Minister Hun Sen proclaimed last year after the CNRP ended its 10-month boycott of parliament, has been criticized by some for leading to a mellowing of opposition to the CPP-led government.
Yet Mr. Rainsy said in Paris that his now friendly relations with Mr. Hun Sen would enable changes, such as the creation of the new National Election Committee (NEC), that will lead to the prime minister’s downfall.
“The CNRP’s goal is to get power to lead the country. So we need to try all together to gain victory over the CPP in the 2018 election,” Mr. Rainsy said. “So how does the culture of dialogue help us to achieve this goal?”
“The culture of dialogue can help the CNRP to win the new election because of the new NEC,” he said. “If we kept protesting along the streets and sidewalks to call for changes to the NEC, it would have been impossible.”
“The NEC needs to be changed by law,” Mr. Rainsy said.
CPP spokesman Sok Ey San said Thursday that Mr. Rainsy was correct to characterize the new “culture of dialogue” as a way to make changes to Cambodian society.
“The culture of dialogue means a lot. Whenever there are problems, there is no need to stage protests or insult others, but we can sit down for discussions,” he said.
Yet Mr. Ey San said the opposition leader was wrong to predict the new culture would lead to the CPP’s fall.
“It’s not really true because he is just taking an opportunity to campaign. The meaning of the culture of dialogue is to eliminate anarchic marching and turmoil from society,” he said.