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

Multimedia Brussels Schools, Metro Reopen Under Heavy Guard

City remains under the highest threat alert level due to what authorities have described as a 'serious and imminent' threat of attack

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

Americans Think About Strange Stuff at Thanksgiving

Millions of Americans are celebrating Thanksgiving, but they’re not necessarily thinking about turkey and stuffing

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs