Cambodia: Sam Rainsy to Ask Western Nations Not to Recognize Current Government

PHNOM PENH – Opposition leader Sam Rainsy says he is preparing for a trip to the United States and Europe, to urge Western countries not to recognize the newly formed government led by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Sam Rainsy registered to vote on Monday, making him eligible to vote and run for office in subsequent elections.

He told reporters after he registered that the government formed at the National Assembly last month, despite a boycott of the sessions by the opposition, was unconstitutional and therefore not legitimate. Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party “robbed the power from the people,” he said, “by a constitutional coup d’eta.”

He will be traveling to the US, England, France and Belgium, urging those countries not to accept the newly formed government as legitimate, he said.

Cheang Von, a member of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, said Sam Rainsy’s plan will mean the CPP “cannot forgive him.” “And people will condemn him,” he said.

However, Lao Mong Hay, a political analyst, said Monday that as many as 2.5 million names were omitted from voter registration, which he called a “serious human rights abuse.” This gives Sam Rainsy’s claims some merit, he said.