Cambodian opposition MPs end boycott of parliament
Cambodia’s opposition MPs ended a six-month boycott of parliament yesterday, following months of legal and political pressure from strongman Prime Minister Hun Sen. Lawmakers from the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) pulled out of parliamentary sessions in May after some MPs, including its deputy leader Kem Sokha, were slapped with legal cases by the government. With 2018 elections in view, Hun Sen is increasingly using Cambodia’s pliant courts-as well as his political cunning-to box in rivals, a tactic he has deployed throughout his 31-year tenure in office. Yesterday 39 opposition MPs ended their boycott and joined the parliamentary debate on a $5 billion budget for 2017. “We must return to debate it,” said CNRP spokesman and lawmaker Yim Sovann. He denied his party had caved in to Hun Sen’s pressure tactics but said his party “are the victims of political crackdown.”“This (end of boycott) is also a gesture to show that we want a resolution” to the political crisis, he said.