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Ruling party slams ‘puppet’ leaders

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Council of Ministers Press and Quick Reaction Unit deputy president Keo Remy speaks yesterday in Phnom Penh. Photograph: Hong Menea/Phnom Penh Post

The US cannot press Cambodia for the return of opposition party leader Sam Rainsy, Council of Ministers Press and Quick Reaction Unit deputy president Keo Remy said at a snap press conference yesterday morning.

Former Sam Rainsy Party member Remy, who is now a secretary of state in the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, criticised the attempts of the trio at the head of the new opposition party to persuade US Congressional and State Department officials to assist in Rainsy’s return for the 2013 election.

“Cambodia is an independent state, not a subordinate country of any country. I regret some leaders have a manner as a puppet,” Remy said. “I can say that there is nothing that can put pressure on Cambodia.

“Related to politicians, the [CPP] led by Samdech Techo [Hun Sen] has always compromised many times since the time of Funcinpec.

“A lot of politicians who were convicts could reach a compromise in this country, but in this century, there is nothing to compromise anymore,” Remy said, in reference to the conviction and royal pardon of Prince Norodom Ranarridh.

Remy also said it would be “impossible” for the SRP and fellow opposition Human Rights Party to create a third opposition party, the proposed Cambodian Democratic Movement for National Rescue, because the proposed leader of that party, Rainsy, is a convict and cannot participate in politics under provisions of the Election Law.

Kem Sokha, president of the HRP and deputy president of National Rescue, said the opposition leaders’ trip to the US was for political awareness purposes only.

“Because they [the US] want us to merge as democrats to balance with the ruling party,” Sokha said. “Now we have already joined we must go to tell them what they can do to help.”

Election monitor Koul Panha said yesterday that National Rescue would face an uphill battle in getting registered with the Ministry of Interior over Rainsy’s conviction.

“The Ministry can call into question whether or not to register this new party. And then they may need to put those questions to the Constitutional Council,” Panha said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meas Sokchea at sokchea.meas@phnompenhpost.com
With assistance from Bridget Di Certo

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