|Opposition leader Sam Rainsy (Photo: Den Aythyea, RFA)|
24 March 2012
By Yun Samean
Radio Free Asia
Translated from Khmer by Oss Dey
On Saturday 24 March, a high-ranking government official announced that the main key to the return of opposition leader Sam Rainsy to Cambodia remains on a political arrangement between Hun Xen and the opposition leader.
Phay Siphan, the mouthpiece of the Council of Ministers, said that based on past political experiences, Sam Rainsy could return to Cambodia to participate in the election again if there is a political arrangement between himself and Hun Xen. Phay Siphan personally commented that in 2005, Sam Rainsy was sentenced by the court, but he could return back to participate in the election after an arrangement was made with Hun Xen, therefore, according to Phay Sipham the key to the return of Sam Rainsy to Cambodia remains in the latter’s hand: “What H.E. Sam Rainsy repeated to everybody about his return is [based] on his past experience. Therefore, he has the experience and, in order to make an arrangement, the key is in his hand.”
In his visit to US this week, opposition leader Sam Rainsy requested that the UN boycott its observations for the 2012 commune election and the 2013 general election if the Cambodian government does not change the composition of the National Election Committee (NEC) and if he is absent during these elections.
Sam Rainsy is currently living in self-exile in France after the Phnom Penh regime wanted to arrest him following his sham 14-year jail sentence.
During his interview with RFA, Mr. Sam Rainsy seems to soften his direct criticisms on Hun Xen, however, he insisted that he must be present during the upcoming elections.
Sam Rainsy repeated over and over that he is hopeful that he will return back to Cambodia, otherwise, the election results would be valueless: “The situation will change just like in the past. In the past, there were similar problems, i.e. they created all these issues against me, they wanted to prevent me from returning to participate in the elections, but in the end, there were always some resolutions. This time, it is not different from the past, there will be a political resolution to this political problem.”
In 1995 and 2005, he was chased out of the National Assembly by the Phnom Penh regime and he was even sentenced by the court. However, in the end, he could return back home after an arrangement was made with Hun Xen. Sam Rainsy charged in his appeal letter that, during his 15-year of political life, he was able to escape grenade assassination attempts made against him in 1997 and 1998.
On 15 March, human rights and election observer civil society organizations expressed their concerns over freedom and justice in the problem-ridden election because of freedom restriction in the competition, because of the illegal use of public servants and armed soldiers/cops (by the CPP), and because of inequity in the broadcast of information. The joint statement issued by the civil society added that the competition field is not fair because it is under the thumb of the ruling CPP party, whereas the broadcast media and the government human resources are used by the ruling CPP party for its competition. Human rights groups asked that the king and the government make political arrangement so that the SRP could participate in the upcoming commune and general elections.
At the beginning of March 2012, Sam Rainsy asked international MPs to form an international parliamentary committee for free election in Cambodia and also to push the Cambodian government to allow him to return to participate in the commune election in June 2012 and in the upcoming general election in 2013.
Political analysts believe that the plan proposed by Sam Rainsy may not be workable and his wish to return home before the elections may not be successful either.
As the same time, at the beginning of March 2012, the Cambodian NatAss erased Sam Rainsy’s name from its roster because the court sentence issued against him is effective.