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Cambodian Minister: Opposition ‘Spoiling Democracy’

  • Hul Reaksmey

Members of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party raise joined hands for photographs at their party headquarters in Phnom Penh, May 27, 2016.

Members of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party raise joined hands for photographs at their party headquarters in Phnom Penh, May 27, 2016.

Cambodia Interior Minister Sar Kheng has penned an open letter to parliament in which he accuses opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmakers of acting unconstitutionally following an attempted march on several foreign embassies, which was blocked by the city officials.

The protesters had planned on Monday to deliver a petition claiming the ruling Cambodian People’s Party had violated tenets of the 1991 Paris Peace Accords, which formally ended the Cambodian-Vietnamese war.

Kheng denied the charge, saying the opposition had in fact been the party in the wrong.

“What is the worst thing is that the opposition leaders thought that they are above the law," he wrote. "For instance, Kem Sokha, vice president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, was summoned by the court several times, but he didn’t appear at the court."

“Similarly, [CNRP president] Sam Rainsy obtained amnesty from the King many times in the past. In the present day, he is requesting the charges be dropped," he added. "The attitude of the opposition party leaders shows they don’t take responsibility and this cannot be tolerated at all.”

Son Chhay, the opposition’s chief whip, said the heavy security presence at Monday’s march was a violation of the law and against the national interest.

Meas Ny, a political analyst, said the back-and-forth between the two parties was a symptom of the deteriorating political climate.

“I think that if you look at the character of the politicians from both sides so far, it seems that they are … taking revenge,” he said.

This report was produced in collaboration with VOA's Khmer Service.

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