The Khmer Anti-Poverty Party announced a three-party merger yesterday – and indicated an interest in future mergers with other political parties – at its national convention in Kandal province’s Takhmao town.
Speaking in front of an estimated 1,000 supporters, KAPP president Daran Kravanh, who lives in the US, said the KAPP would merge with the Society of Justice Party and the Democratic Society Party ahead of next year’s national elections.
He also indicated an interest in merging with the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party.
“We are merging to eliminate poverty,” he said.
“Today we have three parties coming together, tomorrow we might have the Sam Rainsy Party and Kem Sokha’s party [the Human Rights Party],” he said.
The candidate jokingly made reference to merging with the Cambodian People’s Party, if it ever wanted to be “released from Vietnam’s control”.
When contacted yesterday, senior CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said “we are not under Vietnamese control”.
Several of Daran Kravanh’s supporters – many of them foreigners – also addressed the convention crowd, including his wife, American Bree Lafreniere Kravanh, who said her husband had fled to the US 27 years ago to escape a Vietnamese-controlled state.
SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said yesterday that his party would be receptive to merger talks with the KAPP because it supported efforts to unite Cambodia’s democratic forces.