The European Union was glad to support the electoral process that led to Cambodia's local/sangkat elections on 4 June 2017, which was widely recognised as having been professionally run by the National Election Committee and as having reached high standards of transparency and credibility.
Since then, however, a series of actions has been taken by the authorities against the main opposition party, which won 44.5% of the vote in the 2013 legislative election and 43.8% in the 2017 local election. The decision on 16 November to dissolve the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) is a significant step away from the path of pluralism and democracy enshrined in Cambodia's constitution and supported over more than two decades by Cambodia's international partners including the European Union.
An electoral process from which the main opposition party has been arbitrarily excluded is not legitimate. The enforced dissolution of the CNRP effectively disenfranchises all those who gave the party their support in the elections in 2013 and 2017. A situation in which all parties, including the CNRP, their leaders and their supporters are able to carry out freely their legitimate functions, must be swiftly restored.
The European Union has repeatedly passed these messages to the Cambodian authorities, including today. Respect of fundamental human rights is a prerequisite for Cambodia to continue to benefit from the EU's preferential Everything But Arms scheme.