|Sam Rainsy (C Front), president of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), speaks at the parliamentary session in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Aug - xinhua|
by School of Vice
It is reported that during the July negotiation meeting Hun Sen had warned his counterparts that this would be their last chance to reach a compromise and work with the CPP to reform the NEC. If this was indeed what he had said [and it would not surprise observers in the least that HS would have been inclined to pose this kind of ‘threat’] then it clearly indicates as to his low estimation of his negotiation partners; their lack of resoluteness in times of tension, and that there was a gap in their armour which he could pinpoint his attacking thrust. Or perhaps, he was just bluffing them [again, he is more than capable of such things!], and he would have known all their strengths and weaknesses, and more importantly, how to exploit them to his own political advantage. He also knows his adversaries via the dialogue channels that he deliberately keeps open between them and his subordinates within the CPP hierarchy such as Interior Ministry’s Sar Kheng and others who act as first points of reference and contact for Rainsy and Sokha. These subordinates would have a feel of the CNRP leadership over most of issues that concern them, and at times they would feign sympathy for the opposition's causes, and even warned them of lurking dangers and how to circumvent them for their own sake. Yet, ultimately, they also know they are answerable to HS and his bosses abroad; just as they know what these people want and expect of them.
Thus far, and self-evidently, the Holy Grail of NEC reform is going down a cul de sac - to no one's great shock or surprise, perhaps, with the exception of the Opposition’s leadership itself. All of a sudden these CPP subordinates [who have been keeping the NEC show running to buy more time for their party] declare their collective ignorance over the nationality status of the woman they previously hinted they could agree upon to stand as the decisive 9th candidate to preside over the new electoral body! Never mind that so far 80 or 90 per cent of the two sides' divergences have been narrowed down along the same mutual line. What matters for the CPP is the remaining unresolved detail of disagreement that will in theory and practice transform this electoral body from one of being reliable, regular guarantor of its electoral victories regardless of the electorate’s will, to one of being independent and impartial arbitrator-conveyor of that same will.