The political opposition, having already rejected the results of the July 27 election and threatening to boycott the first session of the new National Assembly, has appealed to retired King Norodom Sihanouk for assistance.
SRP President Sam Rainsy in a Tuesday letter in French to the retired King related a series of strongly worded grievances, claiming that “Cambodia is simultaneously facing an ensemble of grave problems without precedent since the end of the Khmer Rouge regime.”
In his letter, Sam Rainsy made claims of “continuous” encroachment by neighboring countries onto Cambodian territory and increasingly problematic elections that are taking Cambodia “further and further away from the democratic path it is supposed to follow since the Paris accords in 1991, with all the dangers that entails.”
The letter goes on to say the country’s economic growth may have benefited a few, but “it cannot hide the fact that the people are crying famine and that revolt is brewing.”
Sam Rainsy asked the retired King to “undertake a new Crusade to save the Khmer Nation.”
Speaking at a news conference at the Human Rights Party headquarters in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, Sam Rainsy said that political divisiveness has reached such a point that “only the retired King can resolve these national issues.”
“We are inviting the retired King to return to help the country survive,” Sam Rainsy said. “The government is incapable; they cannot bring about national reconciliation, and they cannot protect our country. We want [the retired King] to unite the country,” he said.
Sam Rainsy added that the opposition wants the retired King to play a role in “finding a solution” to the election grievances raised by the opposition so that the “Assembly [will] represent the whole people and not be a thief or ghost Assembly.”
The SRP and HRP have claimed that hundreds of thousands of voters were dropped from voter lists and that an equal number of CPP supporters were able to cast their vote illegally using fraudulent identification forms. The presidents of both parties are to tour the US and Europe to present their claims to foreign leaders.
Information Minister and government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said the opposition was insulting both the King and the retired King by asking for Norodom Sihanouk’s assistance with their election complaints.
“The water is reaching [Sam Rainsy’s] nose, and now he is dragging in the retired King,” he said, adding that Sam Rainsy is belittling King Norodom Sihamoni by going over his head to ask the King’s father for assistance.