Who Will Listen?
Over 1.3 million citizens signed (thumb-printed) a petition to the government to protest the results of the summer election and drum up international support. From the Phnom Penh Post:
Thousands of Cambodia National Rescue Party supporters marched through the heart of Phnom Penh yesterday to deliver a petition signed with the thumbprints of more than two million aggrieved citizens to the United Nations.
…the 1991 Paris Peace Agreements fluttered throughout the crowd, reminding onlookers that the purpose of the protest was to call on the international community to pressure the government to abide by the spirit of those accords.
The primary focus of the 1991 agreements, which were signed in the presence of the UN secretary-general, was to bring peace to Cambodia, though it also established the mandate for the UN-sponsored elections that followed and laid down principles for a new, democratic constitution.
Prime Minister Hun Sen said last month, however, that the accords were now invalid, given the country adopted a new constitution in 1993 and had its own sovereign laws.
I don’t expect any major movement from the international community to cut aid or put the CPP in a position that forces it to adopt new policies. I hope that the CNRP learns from the efforts of the National League for Democracy in Burma. Developing a pipeline of leadership, tangible policy, and a compelling vision, alongside setting realistic expectations, will spur meaningful, lasting change. Simply campaigning as an alternative to the current administration won’t secure key international actors in the short-term or placate the supporters looking for quick results to their concerns when/if there is a transition to power.