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‘Terrorist’ details campaign

In the unlikely event it is granted political party status next month, a group labelled “terrorists” by the Cambodian government will campaign on a platform of bringing an end to land grabs, combating human trafficking and providing free school meals.

Sourn Serey Ratha, the self-exiled president of the Khmer People Power Movement (KPPM), told the Post on Sunday that he plans to register a political party, called the Khmer People Power Party (KPPP), with the Interior Ministry next month.

A copy of the KPPM’s proposed political platform, obtained by the Post over the weekend, lists policies the group plans to implement if its political campaigning is successful.

Included in the policy list are calls for all logging licences to be cancelled for “at least 15 years, or indefinitely” and for all landless families to be awarded property from the state.

It also suggests a new law prohibiting the trafficking of immigrants into Cambodia and demanding their deportation, as well as for students to spend longer hours in the classroom and to receive free lunches.

Serey Ratha said he believes the party will enjoy wide support if the Interior Ministry approves its registration, including, he claims, “50 per cent” of those who abstained from voting in last year’s election.

“We expect KPPP will have big support from people who are willing to [topple] Hun Sen’s regime,” he said by email from the United States. Serey Ratha is charged with treason for urging an overthrow of the government and has an arrest warrant against him.

But, he said, this will not stop him.

“If Hun Sen’s regime still orders to arrest me I can use any country near Cambodia to lead my party,” he said.

However, Sok Setha, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Interior, warned yesterday that “in accordance with the law on political parties, the political party must have its office and members in Cambodia”.

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