Prime Minister Hun Sen praised the proposal for redistribution of the MP seats of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) as a boon for democracy, according to The Phnom Penh Post Online on Thursday.
“They talk about the multi-party problem, but I want to confirm that when the one party is dissolved, there will be five parties that will replace it. That means that it will go from two parties to six parties in the National Assembly,” Hun Sen said in an address before some 20,000 migrant workers in Phnom Penh on Wednesday.
His comment was in reference to amendments to the MP election law proposed by the ruling Cambodia People’s Party (CPP) to redistribute CNRP’s 55 seats in the National Assembly to five small parties in case the opposition party is dissolved.
“Currently, there are dozens of political parties in Cambodia, and it is a heaven for political parties and NGOs,” said Hun Sen.
He also said that the dissolution of the CNRP would be karmic justice.
But observers doubted Hun Sen’s claim of healthy democracy with the dissolution of the CNRP and the redistribution of the opposition’s MP seats to the smaller parties.
“Cambodia may have many NGOs on paper, but there is virtually no space left for independent human rights NGOs to operate on a daily basis without being threatened or/and watched,” said Naly Pilorge of rights NGO Licadho.
CNRP lawmaker Mao Monyvann said the reason for the silence of CNRP was simple.
“The party does not need to prepare a lawyer. It is impossible to stop even we prepared 1,000 lawyers. What documents are we going to show, since we have never done anything. We just debated in a democratic manner, that is all,” he said.