Days after Cambodia's government claimed victory in its bid for reelection, opposition leader Sam Rainsy expressed dissatisfaction with what he described as the "disenfranchisement of a large portion of the electorate" in the country's recent election.
Rainsy, president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, told HuffPost Live on Tuesday that the CNRP saw huge gains in the vote, nearly doubling its presence in parliament by claiming 55 seats. The Cambodian People's Party and Prime Minister Hun Sen won 68 seats out of 123, a fall from the 90 it formerly controlled.
The CNRP claims that the CPP distorted election results through voter fraud, removing names from electoral rolls and limiting the opposition's access to the public by tightly controlling media.
Rainsy's assessment of the situation is simple: "Outgoing Prime Minister Hun Sen is afraid of me and he does not want to have a fight with me."
When host Ahmed Shibab-Eldin asked why Hun Sen might fear the opposition, Rainsy replied that the winds of change in Cambodia are in the CNRP's favor.
"I am the only real challenger to him, and my party has enjoyed growing popular support while his party, a former communist party that has been in power for 30 years, has now encountered more and more popular resistance," Rainsy said. "Because of human rights abuses, people are more and more unhappy with the ruling party."
He added that he deeply values the young people of Cambodia who have taken to social media to make their voices heard despite the ruling party's grasp on the country's media.
"There are many similarities between the youth in Cambodia and the youth in the Arab world," Rainsy said. "The youth are very dissatisfied with the regime. They are unemployed. They are frustrated. They want the end of corruption. They want total justice. It is a long way to go."
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