On September 26, 2012, opposition leader Sam Rainsy wrote to The Phnom
Penh Post the following letter:
CAMBODIA’S 2013 ELECTION, A ONE-HORSE-RACE?
In the article titled “Bring on one-horse race” in The Phnom Penh Post
dated September 26, 2012, Prime Minister Hun Sen is reported as saying
in a speech that an election without an opposition would be ”easy”
and that he will happily accept all the votes in 2013.
As we all know, nothing that is worth doing is easy. As children or
young students, we don’t, for example, retake the same exams year
after year to relive the pleasure of passing them. Sportsmen will seek
out the highest level of competition, rather than defeating the same
old opponents. In our professional lives, we push, or are pushed, on
to new challenges no matter how much we would like to rest on our
laurels. We only ever achieve anything worthwhile when there is
difficulty, or risk of failure, involved.
In elections also, it is so. In Cambodia, the main difficulty is to
reform the National Election Committee, to make it a neutral rather
than a partisan body. This has been recommended by Surya P. Subedi,
the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights. The government
has refused to do so. For Hun Sen to contemplate an election without
an opposition as a preferable alternative is to demonstrate arrogance
and a complete disregard for the right of the people to democratic
A thoroughly meaningless victory was achieved last Sunday by the
ruling party in Belarus. The government there left the democratic
opposition with no option but to boycott the elections after it
imprisoned opposing politicians and created criminal records to
prevent others from standing. The process was denounced by
international observers for the sham it was. International isolation
beckons for the communist-style regime.
The fact is that in terms of electing a legitimate government, a
one-horse race is the same as a no-horse race. The public is cheated:
the horse and rider succeed only in looking foolish.
Elected Member of Parliament
President of the National Rescue Party (Cambodia’s united democratic opposition)