Rainsy Thanks ‘Brilliant’ King Sihamoni on Khmer New Year

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy has written to King Norodom Sihamoni to wish him luck on the occasion of Khmer New Year, less than two weeks after the government condemned him for supposedly disrespecting the King.

In a letter dated Saturday and released publicly yesterday, Mr. Rainsy thanks King Sihamoni for carrying out his duties competently.

“I would like to express the highest gratitude to Your Majesty, with great reverence, that Your Majesty has fulfilled the highest duty as the King and brilliant head of state of Cambodia in order to drive the country to harmony and prosperity, which are the holy aspirations of Your Majesty’s people throughout the country,” reads the letter.

In an April 2 letter to King Sihamoni, which was also distributed publicly, Mr. Rainsy took issue with King Sihamoni’s assessment that the CPP-only National Assembly “represents the entire Khmer people.” The opposition leader also appeared to rebuke the head of state for convening the first sitting of the National Assembly and for congratulating sitting lawmakers at the second plenary session of the body on April 2.

Mr. Rainsy suggested at the time that the King’s actions were inappropriate given the ongoing boycott of the body by his opposition CNRP, which says last year’s national election was marred by widespread fraud.

The CPP government and its various ministries responded on April 5 and 6 with a slew of statements condemning Mr. Rainsy for insulting the King and threatening to bring charges against him that carry a 13-month sentence.

Prime Minister Hun Sen then threatened that Mr. Rainsy could be arrested and in jail by Khmer New Year, which began Monday.

Mr. Hun Sen, in a similar statement for Khmer New Year, also praised the King and the institution of the Royal Palace.

“In the name of the government and myself, as well as civil servants, the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, the National Police and compatriots, I would like to pray for the three sacred objects, the holy things in the world, the devada called Koreakeak Devi, the holy souls of former kings,” Mr. Hun Sen wrote.

“Particularly, the devada protecting the throne, gratefully bless Your Majesty Norodom Sihamoni, the King of Cambodia, with revered respect.”

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