World Bulletin/News Desk
Cambodia’s National Election Committee (NEC) announced on Monday that the Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy would not be allowed to join the parliamentary elections to be held on July 28.
A few days ahead of the Cambodian parliamentary elections, the tension between the ruling Cambodia People’s Party (CPP) and the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) is escalating.
Sam Rainsy, head of the CNRP, wrote a letter to the President of NEC on Sunday requesting that he be registered to the candidate lists after receiving an amnesty from King Norodom Sihamoni for convictions to incite race discrimination, politically motivated as he claimed.
Opposition leader Rainsy had spent four years in France in a self-imposed exile to avoid jail time for the convictions, but returned last Friday to the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh after being granted pardon by the Cambodian King at Hun Sen’s request and was greeted by tens of thousands of supporters.
Despite being regarded as the most powerful rival of the current prime minister, Rainsy was excluded from running in the July 28 election against Southeast Asia’s longest-reigning leader, Prime Minister Hun Sen, already in power for 28 years, who is expected to win by a landslide.
Upon his return from France, NEC said he could not contest in the elections as his name was removed from the register list after he was sentenced in absentia and that the registration of candidates had long been closed.
The NEC added that it would be unable to register Sam Rainsy to run for the CNRP because he had “failed to comply with conditions for the candidate lists,” because of his convictions at the time the list was approved.
To be able to run in the parliamentary elections, Rainsy needs a constitutional amendment on which the government refuses to give an inch.
Rainsy said last week that he would not recognize any victory by PM Hun Sen's ruling party in the polls if he was barred from contesting in the parliamentary elections, as the head of the main opposition party and a potential prime ministerial candidate.
The ruling CPP of Hun Sen, in power for 28 years and at present holds 90 of the 123 seats in the National Assembly, is widely expected to sweep this month’s elections. The party won the last two polls by a landslide despite allegations of fraud and election irregularities.Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Temmuz 2013, 13:57