Cambodia Opposition Ends Boycott of Parliament

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel R. Russel, left, shakes hands with Cambodia's main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's Deputy President Kem Sokha, right, in October during the arrival at party headquarters for meeting, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Photo: Heng Sinith / Associated Press

PHNOM PENH — Cambodia’s opposition party has ended a six-month boycott of the parliament, saying it wants to ensure the national budget for 2017 is debated properly in the house.

The Cambodia National Rescue Party had stopped attending parliamentary sessions after its members were stripped of their parliamentary immunity and confronted with lawsuits by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government. The opposition and human rights groups say the cases against the opposition are politically motivated, mounted to harass them.

Eng Chhai Eang, a senior opposition lawmaker, said ahead of the National Assembly session on Tuesday that the party’s position remains unchanged but it wants a political truce with the ruling party.

Hun Sen attended the session but opposition leader Sam Rainsy didn’t — he is in self-imposed exile to escape a defamation conviction.