Cambodia’s former opposition leader called for general election boycott

Vastavam web: Cambodia’s former opposition leader, Sam Rainsy, called on Sunday for Cambodians to boycott a general election set for July 29 if his dissolved party isn’t allowed to take part.The Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) was dissolved by the Supreme Court last November at the request of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government, which alleged it was plotting to take power with the help of the United States.

“I call on all my Cambodian fellow compatriots who believe in democracy to boycott the 29 July 2018 elections if the CNRP is not allowed to participate,” Sam Rainsy said in a tweet on Sunday.The party had not previously called for a boycott and it was not immediately clear if Sam Rainsy was speaking on behalf of the party.

Sok Eysan, a spokesman for Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party, said Sam Rainsy’s call would have no impact.“The CNRP is already dead by the Supreme Court’s decision,” Sok Eysan said. “Even if Sam Rainsy appeals until he dies, people no longer believe him.”

The ban on the CNRP prompted some Western countries to condemn the crackdown, cut aid, and impose visa bans on some ruling party members. But Japan provided Cambodia with a grant and loan agreement totalling over $90 million on Sunday, while saying it wanted to see a free and fair election.A former deputy president of the CNRP, Mu Sochua, said Cambodians expected Japan not to recognise any government that emerged from a “sham election”.