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Hun Sen coward
Singapore, March 14, 2013

I am happy to hear Mr. Hun Sen trying today to deny that he is a coward. His arguments are so poor and so irrelevant that they actually prove the contrary to what he means. Therefore Mr. Hun Sen himself unintentionally helps further convince the public opinion that he is really a coward.

Background of the discussion : On March 11, 2013 Agence France Presse (AFP) wrote :

QUOTE – Cambodia’s opposition leader Sam Rainsy on Monday [March 11] branded strongman Prime Minister Hun Sen a “coward” for barring him from running in a key general election later this year. Rainsy, Hun Sen’s main rival, lives in self-imposed exile in France to avoid prison for a string of convictions that critics contend are politically motivated. In November the 63-year-old Rainsy was told he could not stand in the polls because of [a decision] by the National Election Committee (NEC), a body he says is a tool of the premier.

He accused Hun Sen, who has ruled the country since 1985 and has vowed to stay in power until he is 90, of using the NEC [and the politically subservient Court] to block his election bid (…). “I think Hun Sen is a coward because there are only two challengers [he and I],” Rainsy told AFP by telephone from Yangon, where he met Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. “But Hun Sen dares not to compete with me. He uses a kangaroo court to blame me so that he can go into the ring and fight alone (…).”

[Rainsy] also accused the NEC of handing Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) landslide victories in successive elections. The international community has urged Cambodia to allow all political participants, including Rainsy, to compete fairly in the looming election. – UNQUOTE

Today Mr. Hun Sen did not address any of the fundamental issues raised in the above AFP report. Instead

I- Mr. Hun Sen said he is not afraid to compete with me at the 2013 elections because he had defeated me at three previous elections (1998, 2003, 2008).

My comment :

What kind of elections were they? According to a team of observers from the European Union, the 2008 national elections had “fallen short of a number of key international standards for democratic elections.” As for the upcoming 2013 elections, why doesn’t Mr. Hun Sen accept to implement any of the basic recommendations issued by the United Nations in 2012 to help ensure more democratic elections? Everybody agrees that under a regime which pretends to derive its legitimacy from the popular vote but which in fact resorts to intimidation and repression to remain in place for decades, elections are nothing but a sham.

If Mr. Hun Sen really wants to prove that he is not a coward, he should simply accept to implement the U.N. recommendations, which include my free and full participation in the forthcoming electoral contest. According to Associated Press (AP), October 6, 2012, “[Sam Rainsy] and Hun Sen are bitter political enemies, with Sam Rainsy the only national figure with the political skills and organization to pose a credible challenge to the prime minister.” By using a kangaroo court and a discredited NEC to prevent me from challenging him, Mr. Hun Sen can only reinforce his image as a political coward. Who on earth could explain to Mr. Hun Sen that, for a country that pretends to implement parliamentary democracy known as the Westminster system, no outgoing prime minister can legitimately retain his position by unfairly excluding the leader of the opposition — his only real challenger — from the electoral contest?

But we can understand why Mr. Hun Sen feels more and more unsecure. With the merger this year of the only two opposition parties represented in Parliament, the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) and the Human Rights Party (HRP) under the banner of the Cambodia National Rescue Paery (CNRP), Cambodia’s political landscape has dramatically changed and could more likely lead to a democratic change, thus putting an end to Mr. Hun Sen’s 28-year reign. At the June 2012 commune elections, in spite of countless irregularities, the SRP and the HRP collected a total of 31 percent of the vote, clearly making the CNRP the only real challenger to the ruling CPP at the 2013 national elections. As the president of the CNRP and the opposition leader, I am candidate for prime minister and represent the only real challenger to Mr. Hun Sen, the other candidate for prime minister supported by the CPP. But Mr. Hun Sen is using all sorts of tricks to avoid the fight between he and I, showing that he is a coward.

II- Mr. Hun Sen compared Cambodia to Burma, and Sam Rainsy to Aung San Suu Kyi.

My comment :

The situation in Cambodia is different from the one in Burma in that in the latest country, all political leaders from all parties are patriots and serve their country’s interest first. This is not the case of Cambodia where the ruling party was put in place by a foreign army in 1979, which indebted the CPP to a neighboring country whose interest it has always to keep in mind.

In Burma, national unity can be achieved because no political leader receive any instruction from any foreign country, which is different from Cambodia. On October 25, 2009 I pulled out an illegal border post planted on Cambodia’s territory in Svay Rieng province. There had been no reaction whatsover from the Cambodian authorities, until November 4, 2009 when Vietnamese prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung called on — from Hanoi — the Hun Sen government to punish me (and tacitly to eliminate me from Cambodia’s political scene).

The tricks used by Mr. Hun Sen to try to eliminate me from Cambodia’s political scene are ludicrous, as least as ludicrous as the ones used by the authoritarian Burmese government to try to neutralize Aung San Suu Kyi. But I am grateful to Mr. Hun Sen for making the following comparison: “Aung San Suu Kyi has accepted to face charges and other legal problems in Burma, which is not the case of his political opponent [Sam Rainsy] in Cambodia.” Since the whole world knows that any charges faced by Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma were trumped-up ones, Mr. Hun Sen has just helped everybody understand that any “legal problems” I am facing now are related to trumped-up charges.

It is sad that, with Burma making noticeable democratic progress, Mr. Hun Sen has turned Cambodia into the new pariah state in Southeast Asia.

Sam Rainsy


One Response

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  1. It’s good

    Bigknife Larch

    March 15, 2013 at 9:46 am

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