PHNOM PENH: Nearly half of Cambodia’s opposition parliamentarians have fled abroad in the past month to escape a government crackdown that has battered their party with legal cases, an MP said on Wednesday. The exodus further imperils the prospects of a party that poses the only viable challenge to premier Hun Sen in next year’s national poll. The strongman has smothered dissent in the lead-up to the election and is accused of picking off his critics through a series of dubious court cases. The crackdown was ramped up last month when opposition leader Kem Sokha was thrown into a remote jail on treason charges, a dramatic arrest that sent fear rippling through the embattled opposition movement. Since then, more than 20 opposition politicians have fled the country, MP Mao Monyvann said of his Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), which has 55 members of parliament.