Once Politician Always Politician
Funcinpec, led by Nhek Bun Chhay and Norodom Ranariddh Party (NRP), led by Prince Ranariddh, signed a merger agreement on 24.05.12, under the auspice of PM, at the Peace Palace, the Cabinet of the Prime Minister. Nhek Bun Chhay was the Commander-In-Chief of the Funcinpec’s army and is one of the loyal Commanders of the Prince. After the national election in 1993, organized by UNTAC, in which Funcinpec won, Prince Ranariddh became First Prime Minister and Hun Sen was Second Prime Minister. The Honeymoon lasted only till 1997, when Ranariddh was ousted and Nhek Bun Chhay escaped narrowly for his life by fleeing to Thailand.
After some international pressure, Ranariddh was allowed back to join the election in 1998 and became Parliament President, where he headed until 2004. He then resigned, left the country again and lived in exile for a while. He declared himself out of the politics, but few years later re-entered. Funcinpec is now Junior partner of the so-called Coalition Government.
When politicians united they said “it is for the sake of the nation”. When they divided, they said “this guy is bad, that guy is worst”. It means more or less the re-unification of two bad guys/politicians, at least. In politics, there were no “real enemies or real friends”. They attacked each other few days ago, they cheers with each other with Champagnes, some days later.
Voters need to be careful and most of the time have to live with that bitter reality. Political culture in Cambodia is mainly defined by power; either from the barrel of gun or from money, kinship, patronage system, impunity of the powerful cliques and endless suffering of the weakest communities.
There are also positive development concerning relatively freedom of expression, freedom of movement, vibrant civil society, increased brave grass-root communities raising up against abusers, rapid economic development, regular elections held, better understanding of the people concerning active participation in society, less violence from election to election, better infrastructure such as roads, bridges, more schools; almost three million tourists visiting the country, poverty reduction at a rate of 1%/year; national, regional and international integration etc.