Cambodia: PM Hun Sen declares political 'ceasefire' amidst heightened tension

The critics say Hun Sen is scared of losing in the 2018 general elections.

Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen declared a political "ceasefire" on Thursday after a series of prosecutions of opposition members, which the critics feel are politically motivated as the PM fears to lose power in the upcoming election.

Recently, the tensions between the two main political parties of Cambodia have risen as the opposition complained about a crackdown on critics, a way to intimidate the opposition before 2018 general election.

On Monday, Hun Sen vowed to "eliminate" opposition supporters if any one of them plans to protest against the ongoing government crackdown that has sparked international alarm.

"I should not talk much because there is a ceasefire," Hun Sen told Reuters.

"I want the situation to be quiet, I don't want any exchanges," he added.

A senior member of the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Son Chhay, welcomed Hun Sen's declaration. "This is a good sign," he said.

It was the latest of the Hu Sen's strongest comments that have worsened the political tensions in the kingdom that is scheduled to hold national elections in 2018.

The rights groups have accused Hu Sen's administration for arresting scores of critics and tying up other opponents in legal cases.

Meanwhile, Son Chhay also said CNRP, which has been boycotting parliament since last year, would return and promote dialogue in the assembly.

"We would participate in parliamentary work again," he said. "We would like to have a solution through talks," he added.

Hun Sen has dominated Cambodian politics for the past 31 years. His administration claims that it has brought peace and stability to the nation which was once ravaged by civil war.

But, CNRP accuses Hun Sen of rigging the 2013 election in his favour. They said Hun Sen denied the opposition party's majority, however, the critics say that he now fears losing the election in 2018.

Sam Rainsy, CNRP's top leader and Hun Sen's chief rival, has spent nearly one year in self-imposed exile only to avoid arrest warrants which he claims are politically motivated.