Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Commentary: CNRP's victory in political negotiations is neither too little nor too much

Cambodia's main opposition leader Sam Rainsy of the Cambodia National Rescue Party smiles as he waits for Prime Minister Hun Sen to resume a meeting at the Senate headquarters in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, July 22, 2012. Cambodia's ruling and opposition parties on Tuesday held a round of talks to end the yearlong political deadlock. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Yearlong political impasse ended during the top leader meeting between the CNRP and CPP with results of 7 point political agreements yesterday (July 22, 2014).

The results of the meeting stirred up the numerous CNRP supporters and raised a big question as to who won and lose in the political negotiations and agreements. For many CNRP supporters, the results was frustrated. For independent observers and CPP supporters alike seem to be okay with the negotiation results.

However, it's hard to draw a red line between the winner and loser in the political negotiations. What I can say is that CNRP had tried its best to capture more power from CPP in the National Assembly as well as NEC. Sam Rainsy responded to the media clearly that he had no other better option but to end the political deadlock by accepting balance of power formula in major institutions. Meanwhile, Hun Sen was not sure about his victory, though he said to the media at the exit that "Victory! you can all applaud."

What CNRP leaders used to demand in the negotiations, among others, are balance of power in National Assembly and the independence of NEC. According to Dr. Kem Ley talked to RFA (July 22, 2014), the 7 point agreements are suitable and acceptable for CNRP demands (Please read that agreements for further info). I concur with him. But the practical sharing of power remains to be seen. The agreements are obscure and flawed in many aspects. 

One flaw of the agreements should not be overlooked. It remains a possible chance for CPP to play a trump card with NEC functionality under the condition that if a new NEC cannot be established, the old will legitimately continue its authority to run, organise and manage electoral processes. It might not be a big issue, perhaps, if CNRP rechecks it roughly.

CPP from a dominant power to a power sharing is much a loser for its side. For CNRP it should have got more than this as per its resources consumed, but it does not mean that it got too little. Next 4 years are not too long to wait, CNRP has this sufficient time to develop its internal leadership. Now on, CNRP has very equal opportunity to win the next election. No one is very sure to say that it would never win the election, as many had claimed it was impossible before. But now it's highly possible. Things have changed dramatically due to space and time.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, center,
waves to officials after a meeting in Senate
headquarters in Phnom Penh, Cambodia,
Tuesday, July 22, 2012.
Leaders of Cambodia's ruling and opposition
parties say they have reached an agreement
to end a political deadlock since last year's
contentious election. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
For Kem Sokha he might not be satisfied with NEC candidates. He used to opine that there would be 3 from CNRP, 3 from CPP and 3 from Civil Society, the final agreement was that 4 from each party and 1 from consensus of the 2 party MPs, 9 in total.

One more point has come to my mind as I am trying to get answers to Kem Sokha's frowny face. He might be thinking or worried about how to respond to his supporters who have wanted CNRP to run the government and called for Hun Sen to step down. He knew well what his people have wanted. Or there might be something irritated in during the meeting interaction.

It is notable that Kem Sokha did not talk to the press after the meeting neither he posted any congratulation or expression message on his Facebook's page about the negotiation outcomes.

In short, according to the agreements, CPP are forcefully to share its dominant power in NEC membership, it is a loser here.

In National Assembly, CNRP has got what it deserves according to the number of its elected MPs.

CNRP had lost much in time and resource consumption during demonstrations. But it won a big victory in its efforts to awake people awareness and participation in politics. That is a new development of democracy in Cambodia. All credit went to its volunteer supporters and activists in the country and overseas. However, it would be much better for CNRP if it could have gained the same results as earlier as possible. It should not have been that much long delay.

Anyway for me, I have found many positive changes that brought about by CNRP that made me not to be disappointed with the negotiation results. Yet, CNRP has to be clear in the electoral reform processes and to ensure the effective role that its MPs will have to play in the National Assembly. CPP will continue its divide and rule strategy against CNRP as it successfully played with FUNCINPEC. Therefore, building more trust and unity among top leaders as well as the general Cambodia people is mandatory for the next elections fight.   And also CNRP has to explain well to its frustrated supporters about its good-will and intention of the political negotiations concluded with the CPP.

This is just my partial observation.

By ISC - The Cambodian Observer, July 23, 2014

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