News / Asia

Cambodian Opposition Refuses to Call Off Parliament Boycott

Cambodia's King Norodom Sihamoni (C) greets government officials after returning from China at Phnom Penh International Airport, Sept. 11, 2013.
Cambodia's King Norodom Sihamoni (C) greets government officials after returning from China at Phnom Penh International Airport, Sept. 11, 2013.
Robert Carmichael
Cambodia’s opposition said it will not attend the scheduled opening of parliament next week despite a request by the king to call off their boycott. The opposition continues to insist that the ruling party agree to an independent investigation into allegations of massive voting fraud in July’s election. 
 
The letter from King Norodom Sihamoni, Cambodia's constitutional monarch, came after three days of opposition protests attended by tens of thousands of people in the capital.
 
In his letter, which he wrote to each of the opposition’s 55 prospective parliamentarians, the king asked that they attend the September 23 opening of parliament for the sake of national unity.
 
His request follows numerous statements by the opposition pledging to boycott the opening unless the ruling party agrees to an independent committee to investigate the bitterly contested election results.
 
Yim Sovann, a spokesman for the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, or CNRP, said Wednesday that as matters currently stand the opposition would not attend the opening of parliament.
 
Yim Sovann said MPs were obliged to take into account an earlier letter from King Norodom Sihamoni - dated August 7 - in which the monarch called on both parties to find a peaceful solution to the post-election crisis.
 
“The solution cannot be found yet. So we have to find the solution. Also we have to respect the letter of the king - in the letter of the king dated the 7th, the king wants unity, wants a solution, but so far there is no unity, there’s no solution. So we have to find justice, we have to find a solution, we have to find a way to unify all of the political forces first before we go to the parliament,” said Sovann.
 
The opposition claims it won a majority of 63 seats in the July 28 poll, and said the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, or CPP, and the National Election Committee - the body that oversees elections - conspired to deny it victory. The official results gave the CPP 68 seats in the National Assembly and the opposition 55 seats.
 
The ruling CPP has said that with the release of the official results, the time for revisiting the vote has passed.
 
Many opposition supporters claimed they were prevented from voting. Independent election monitors have said there were widespread irregularities, including problems with voter lists, that affect about one quarter of the electoral roll.
 
Yim Sovann said the party could not ignore its supporters’ demands for a probe. 

“The people, the voters, voted for us and so far we have to listen to the people, to the voters. We have to respect the will of the voters. And the voters want us to find justice for them - because some of them received injustice during the election,” Sovann said.
 
The three days of rallies in Phnom Penh, which ended on Tuesday, failed to generate much in the way of concessions other than a vague agreement on Monday that the two parties would set up a committee to examine electoral laws and the National Election Committee.
 
Also Monday both parties agreed to ensure there was no further violence. That came after a commuter was shot dead by military police and around two dozen people were hospitalized after a clash at a key intersection in the capital on Sunday night. The intersection was one of many the authorities had blocked that day.
 
Tuesday’s talks, however, ended without progress. Although no date has yet been set for further negotiations, Yim Sovann said he hoped a meeting would take place before the scheduled opening of parliament next week.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More