Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has brushed aside calls that the international community must recognize next year’s national elections, saying he didn’t care whether the elections will be recognized or not, The Phnom Penh Post Online reported on Monday.
Addressing a youth event in Phnom Penh on Friday, Hun Sen appeared to be responding to a statement by US Senator Ted Cruz on Thursday that it was “impossible for the US and its allies to recognize the legitimacy” of the 2018 elections if, among other conditions, Cambodia National Rescue Party president KemSokha were not released from prison.
“We are determined to adhere to a multi-party democracy with regular elections, and others should not threaten us that they will not recognize the elections,” he said, adding that the only thing he cared about is that of the Cambodian people.
He continued, pointing out that there is no law requiring foreign entities to approve the elections legitimacy.
Hun Sen administration is facing mounting pressure from foreign governments and elected representatives after charging KemSokha with treason and initiating dissolution proceedings against the opposition CNRP.
In a speech on Sunday, former CNRP president Sam Rainsy said that contrary to Hun Sen’s claims, the premier actually coveted international approbation, but that the only way to ensure free and fair elections was with the prime minister’s ouster.
“There are no lasting solution to the current political crisis if we accept Hun Sen to remain in power,” said Rainsy, speaking to Cambodians in Long Beach, California.