As the National Assembly resumed sittings in Phnom Penh this week, with only members of the CPP government in attendance because of the continuing boycott by elected members of Sam Rainsy's CNRP, there have been suggestions that a compromise may finally be in sight that would end the CNRP boycott of the parliament.
At various times since the elections in July of last year there has been talk that compromise is in sight, but on each occasion the prospect of an end to the CNRP boycott has foundered on the CPP's refusal to entertain a review of the 2013 election results. There have been hints that the CPP government might be prepared to review the manner in which the National Election Committee functions in the future, but no signs of its readiness to review its past actions, which included validating last year's poll.
Without being present on the ground, it is difficult to evaluate the state of public opinion in Cambodia, but there are grounds for accepting the judgments made by President of the Cambodia Center for Human Rights Ou Virak that the CPP has not grasped the need to bring public opinion with it in the changed circumstances following last year's surprise showing by the CNRP.
But if we are to accept this judgment, it is also worth taking note of Ou Virak's other judgment, that 'the challenge for the CNRP will be to prove to the Cambodian people that it constitutes a credible alternative'.
Mobilising protest marches is one thing. Showing that it has policies that can be realistically implemented, particularly in economic areas, is another. And no matter how much Sam Rainsy denies that his denunciations of supposed Vietnamese perfidy are not racist in character, this aspect of his rhetoric is a continuing cause for concern about the sort of leader he would be if he ever comes to power.