Rainsy slammed over Maduro comments

Phnom Penh: Senior government officials yesterday slammed former opposition leader Sam Rainsy for comparing Prime Minister Hun Sen to the troubled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

“The CNRP is asking the world’s community of democratic nations to deny legitimacy to both Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen,” Mr Rainsy said on Facebook. “Both are now in power following illegitimate elections […] as denounced by independent observers.”

Mr Rainsy left the ​Kingdom in 2015. He has been living in self imposed exile in​France ever since. In January​his subordinates sought​$300,000 for Mr Rainsy’s​return to the Kingdom.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan yesterday said Mr Rainsy will not turn the international community against the government.

“What he said is a reflection of his hopelessness because the Cambodian people have already made their decision,” he said, referring to last year’s national election in which the ruling CPP won all 125 National Assembly seats. “More than 80 percent of Cambodians cast their ballots and accepted the election.”

Mr Siphan noted that the political situation of Cambodia and Venezuela is different.

“Cambodia does not have an election crisis like in Venezuela,” he said. “Our people, all they want is peace and political stability. Cambodians would not pay attention to what the opposition is appealing for because Cambodia will not bow our heads to foreigners.”

Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin yesterday called Mr Rainsy “selfish”.

“Cambodians know he is a selfish politician. He has always put his personal interests first because his group is calling on other nations to sanction his own country,” Mr Malin said. “Cambodia is not Venezuela because the Cambodian government is a legitimate government created through the support of the majority of voters.

“They commit crimes and flee the country, then they call for sanctions against their own country,” he added. “I think the international community’s consideration will be based on legal conditions, diplomatic relations and interest of the Cambodian people as a whole.”