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New party no problem: PM Hun Sen

A dog analogy was once again employed by Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday as he taunted the newly named National Salvation Party, a merger of Cambodia’s two strongest opposition groups, the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party.

At a speech in Kampong Thom province yesterday, Hun Sen admonished the crowd to wait for the results of the 2013 national elections, saying his Cambodian People’s Party will win handily, echoing last week’s comments likening the new party to a “storm in a clay pot”.

“A dog, if [we] let him eat alone, does not bite, and eats quietly,” he said. “But two or more dogs will bite each other until they break the plate.”

Hun Sen confirmed that he would step down willingly if the new party won the upcoming election, saying that ruling the country was a tiring job, but warned against the opposition taking an illegal “short-cut” to win in 2013.

Nonetheless, the premier said, the party’s prospects didn’t worry him.

“I welcome [the merger]. When have they ever won?” he said, before alluding to the SRP’s parliamentary shake-up about a year ago, in which it swapped several MPs mid-term, as a sign of weakness.

SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said that Hun Sen’s repeated references to the party were proof of its influence, and maintained that the merger was strong.

“Now, we have a new name for the party, the National Salvation Party, so there are no difficulties, because we have the same purpose,” he said.

However, Sovann expressed his regret that Hun Sen compared the new party to animals, saying that as prime minister, he shouldn’t imply that two million Cambodians support a party of dogs.

He also attacked the logic of the prime minister’s remarks, saying: “Normally, eating rice from a plate together and living together means that things are good.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Meas Sokchea at



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