Cambodia’s Opposition Party Must End its Policy Silence Now

The CNRP’s weakened position makes the case for unveiling policy specifics stronger than ever.

Ever since the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) was forcibly dissolved and its president arrested for treason in late 2017, we have heard nothing from its politicians in exile except promises about their fated return and why there must be a change of government. The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), in power since 1979, and Prime Minister Hun Sen, are running the country like a dictatorship, amassing money for themselves and do little for ordinary Cambodians, the CNRP says.

Sam Rainsy, who resigned as the party’s president in February 2017 but today controversially serves as acting-president, has called for Cambodians to “take to the streets to oust Hun Sen,” for Interior Minister Sar Kheng to launch a palace coup, for the military to turn on the government, while also calling on foreign governments, namely the European Union and the United States, to support the case for the CNRP’s reinstatement as a legal entity in Cambodia. At the moment, however, Brussels and Washington, which are threatening economic sanctions on Cambodia, are mainly calling for human rights reforms and the release of Kem Sokha, the CNRP president still detained on treason charges.

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