Where are we heading to?

On July 28, 2013, more than six million Cambodians or around 70 percent of eligible voters went to vote for change. They hoped with the new elections life could become better through better governance. Nine parties contested in the almost violent free elections. Nobody died before and during the elections process. It went in general peaceful. But, after the election, only two parties won the seats in the National Assembly: the CPP got 68 seats (or 48%), down from 90 seats and the CNRP received 55 seats (or 44%), increased from the combined 29 seats in the last elections in 2008. Though, the official results have been announced, the opposition party was not happy, denounced the official results and claimed that instead the CNRP has won the elections by 63 to 60 seats.

The CPP aligned National Election Committee (NEC) has just rushed to shift the responsibility to the higher level, the Constitutional Council (CC). In both institutions, where the majority of its members are coming from the ruling party, it is no wonder why they ruled for their own party. CNRP’s elections related complaints went in vain. The last hope of the opposition was the King. But, the King could not help much, instead went to preside over the half-baked assembly and half-baked government. Since then, the opposition has been trying to push for internal and external pressure on the government to accept their demands on independent investigation committee with international participation and reforms of the national election committee and the constitutional council. Leaders from both parties have met three times in September 2013, but achieved no significant results. Since then, the ruling party just goes ahead with their style, leaving no choice for the opposition parties to turn to their supporters for peaceful demonstrations. Many mass demonstrations and party’s gatherings were organized in Phnom Penh and in the provinces. The political stalemate still continues and the end is not yet in sight.

The two leaders shook hands during the summit meeting, but failed to reach any compromise yet

The two leaders shook hands during the summit meeting in September 2013, but failed to reach any compromise yet (Nokor Thom newspaper, 18.09.13)

Really, I was hoping that our politicians have learnt the past experience and was able to compromise for the sake of the nation and its people. Our people have voted for change and that the two main parties should work together to bring the country forward. The violence in the post-election arena let at least six people died, dozens injured and dozens in jails. Cambodia is back in the world stage again bringing negative news to the public. It is a pity.  Looking at the political theater now, I am less optimistic that the deadlock might come to an end soon. The good news is that the economic development is progressing as usual, though slightly affected, and our people are now not afraid to speak out their concerns, despite all the intimidation and pressure by the current government.


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