By Khmer Wathanakam
A resumption of negotiation between the two parties--the CNRP and the CPP this week--has attracted numerous reactions from both supporters and civil society along with many political analysts. Some supporters have believed that the CNRP's negotiation with the adamant CPP would eventually create a coalition government or an inferior partnership with the CPP as the Forncinpec had practiced in the past, and others would even think that to negotiate means to join with the CPP. For the civil society, some have expressed doubt about a success of negotiation while many political analysts have expressed optimism, and some even have forced both parties to speed up negotiation to end the current crisis by bestowing national interest above every thing [national interest can be interpreted based on individual favor]. Whatever everyone demands will push the CNRP's leadership beyond its limited leverage in dealing with the apathetic CPP which always places personal power and Hanoi's interest above Khmer's interest.
Albeit the CNRP's popularity is still high among the people but a prolong crisis will significantly damage the party's image internally as well as internationally. As the people demand justice for their casting ballots and a total change of the current brutal regime, the CNRP is unable to find it for them as the CPP lacks of political will to deal with the current crisis faithfully, especially to form an independent poll probe that will certainly divulge a systematic fraud. The CPP was well witting about its game plan, and tried to wrap up all the opposition's election complains with its controlled institutions from NEC through Royal institution in an impromptus way. It's the CPP's "fait accompli.'' When the train is ready to leave, the CNRP has a choice to board with them or being left out, or the rice was already cooked, and it's irreversible to the raw rice. In such a predicament, the opposition may alienate themselves from general supporters if they soften too much of their political stand in dealing with the CPP. Or to be adamant with the CPP will certainly prolong the current political deadlock that the international community is squeezing the party to resume negotiation even the US and the EU, their main supporters.
To show a political will to end the crisis in an acceptable way to both sides, the opposition propose three demands instead of one: to insist for independent election probe, to dismantle the nine members of the NEC, and to fully accept recommendation for election reform from the UN's rapporteur. We expect two of the three demands will be reckoned by the CPP if the first demand is impossible to agree with, for it will be its political suicide. In this scenario, the CNRP may hold its key demand for a time being and continue to negotiate the other two demands (the resignation of the NEC and the acceptance of election reform from the UN rap) with the CPP in detail and with full assurance. If the whole election system is deeply reformed including the dismantle of the current fragrant NEC, it will definitely benefit the CNRP in a long run. If we cannot catch the thieves now, but we will create a system to catch them in the future. If we can create a true independent election system, the CPP will eventually lose election in the future undoubtedly.
In case of the two out of three demands are met, the CNRP's elected members may consider taking their seats in the new legislature in order to continue their formal struggle for true justice and independence for our people and nation. Let be clear that to take the seats in the parliament doesn't mean to join and to form any coalition with the CPP or to recognize the CPP's victory and to accept the election result unless the first key demand is met. The CNRP's leadership should explain this procedure step by step to their supporters to deflect all doubts from their hearts and minds if the upcoming negotiation will breakthrough the current iceberg. For all CNRP's supporters, their patriotic and generous works for our nation are very admired and grateful--from election day through many mass protests, thumbprints collections, and generous donations to support the party as well as flood victims. They should continue their patriotic and generous works and unite under a leadership of the CNRP until full justice and independence for Khmer nation is found. In a current circumstance, there is impossible to get something perfect, but we should get it from an acceptable form first before we can make it to a perfect thing that we want.
The CNRP's leadership may not be a perfect or best choice for us, but it is better than the others. We should trust them based on their past actions and experiences, not only what they are doing now. Mr. Kim Sokha and Mr. Sam Rainsey are the rare leaders who have been endured and suffered from persecution from the current brutal regime over the past 20 years--from assassination attempts, imprisonment, political exile, and countless intimidation and temptations, but they have survived from all of those animosities and solemnly declared that they would not be scared and couldn't be bought by the regime's intimidation and temptations. Their valor and determination to protect the rights and interest of the people is a real testimony of their trustworthiness. All the CNRP's supporters should stay united and allow the party's leadership time and space to conduct its searches for a possible solutions that help to bring justice step by step for the people. Any disunity among the party's members and leadership will create a good opportunity for Hun Sen to destroy us again as we have learned over the past 20 years, and we don't want to see this repeated history.