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Prime Minister Hun Sen reportedly spent close to an hour speaking with former opposition leader Kem Sokha at the funeral of Bun Seangly, Hun Sen’s mother-in-law.
PHNOM PENH--Two former opposition leaders from the now-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Kem Sokha and Sam Rainsy, on Tuesday evening sent their condolences to Prime Minister Hun Sen following the passing of his mother-in-law Bun Seangly.
Moreover, Sokha attended the funeral on May 5 at Hun Sen’s residence in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district. Reporters caught a rare moment of amicability between the two as the beleaguered former opposition leader, who remains on trial for treason, expressed his condolences to Hun Sen and his family.
On the night of May 5, Sokha’s lawyer—Phan Chansak—noted in an interview with ThmeyThmey that it was in the former opposition leader’s nature to cross the party lines in the event of a tragedy.
“In order for reconciliation to be possible, these activities are consistent with His Excellency Kem Sokha’s political life and have been for more than 20 years, he has always been soft in politics,” said Chansak.
Chansak went on to say that, in principle, Sokha has never considered any Khmer person as an enemy and he always avoided violence. “So this instance is not weird, since this is a mark of his politics,” Chansak added.
After Sokha expressed his deepest condolences to Hun Sen following the passing of his mother-in-law Bun Seangly, Hun Sen reportedly extended his hospitality towards his former political rival.
However, Sokha’s lawyer, Chansak, said he could not comment on what Hun Sen and Sokha discussed during their 50 minute meeting today, since he was not able to attend the meeting.
Other CNRP figures, including Meng Sophear, Yem Ponharith and Chan Chen—also one of Sokha’s lawyers—attended the funeral, but could not be reached for comment.
Similarly, Sam Rainsy also expressed his condolences towards Hun Sen and his family, but did so via Facebook given Rainsy’s current conditions of exile in Paris.
“Despite of our different perceptions in politics, we both understand that the suffering of losing a loved one is universal and can be happen at any time,” Rainsy wrote.
“I still remember when my mother-in-law died on Nov. 24, 2016, whom I considered as my mother, and Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed his condolences by phone at the time and his son Hun Many attended the funeral, despite the fact that I could not attend, but I will never forget how the gentle the nature of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s family towards my family” Rainsy’s letter added.