News / Asia

Cambodia's Hun Sen, Opposition Leader Announce Deal Ending Deadlock

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, right, talks with the main Opposition Party leader Sam Rainsy, left, of Cambodia National Rescue Party, after their meeting in Senate headquarters in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 22, 2012.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, right, talks with the main Opposition Party leader Sam Rainsy, left, of Cambodia National Rescue Party, after their meeting in Senate headquarters in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 22, 2012.
Ron Corben

Cambodia's Prime Minister and opposition parties have announced an agreement ending nearly a year of political deadlock that is expected to enable the National Assembly to fully reopen.
 
The agreement between Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and opposition leader Sam Rainsy followed five hours of closed-door talks Tuesday - the third round of discussions since the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party boycotted parliament after the July 2013 elections.
 
The opposition had refused to take up their 55 seats in parliament, alleging the polls were rigged. They had called for reforms before fresh elections.
    
In the settlement, both sides agreed to work together at the National Assembly to solve major issues and reform independent institutions to "benefit the nation, the people" and democratic pluralism.
 
Sim Sooya, director of the Khmer Institute for Democracy, said the agreement marked a major step forward after the year of political conflict.

"I really congratulate both parties for political maturity as of today and I'd like if both parties work together Cambodia will develop faster and as a more egalitarian society. This is a very positive step, and this is very promising for the future of Cambodia. I think this is the beginning of everything good," said Sim Sooya.
 
The agreement was also marked by steps to release seven opposition lawmakers and a party activist detained last Tuesday after violence erupted near Freedom Park in Phnom Penh, in clashes with security guards when the opposition attempted to stage a rally.
 
The lawmakers were facing charges ranging from insurrection to inciting violence that carry possible lengthy jail terms if found guilty.
 
Hun Sen has been in power for almost three decades and is known for his autocratic style of government, but was all smiles at the end of the talks, calling them a "success."
 
Sam Rainsy, who had spent several years in exile before returning to Cambodia just prior to last year's elections, flew to Phnom Penh Saturday, saying that talks were the only solution to the political deadlock.
 
Political scientist Carl Thayer of the Australian-based University of New South Wales, said that although the agreement draws Sam Rainsy back into the political process, the political outlook remains uncertain.
 
"The way Hun Sen plays the game in the past is that any time an arrangement like this can be completely overturned if the opposition takes a stance or does things that he disagrees with. I'm not going to be overwhelmingly optimistic nor I'm not going to be completely convinced that they've turned the corner until we've seen the passage of time," Thayer stated.
 
The talks also settled on pressing on with new elections but no final date has been set. Under the existing election timetable, Cambodia had been due for new national polls in July 2018.
 
 

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Poor Khmer
July 23, 2014 11:24 AM
I am amazed how Samrainsy and Kem Sokha continue to play this type of game with the devil Hun Sen who has never respected any agreement in the past. He always overturned it whenever he wanted and needed to.

by: John
July 23, 2014 10:55 AM
So Rainsy is making a deal to free the hostages. Since he's acting from a position of total weakness, no doubt this is the best he can do. The fact is that Hun Sen is a Vietnamese client, and, since the guerrilla war was shut down, no one cares to oppose him. The only reason there is even a fig leaf of opposition is to bilk money from the Western taxpayer. I might as well add that I agreed with shutting down the war. The average Cambodian thereby obtained at least a little peace and stability. The results of the Libyan intervention and the Iraq war show this is not to be despised.

by: Sony from: Stockton California
July 22, 2014 12:23 PM
Sam Raunsy & Kem Sokha, you two need to stand with your supporters around the globe , don't agree to what just for yourself"

by: Apsaravideo from: Long Beach, CA
July 22, 2014 10:14 AM
After 30 years ruling Cambodia, Hun Sen must step down to save little of what's left of his dignity.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs