At least one outspoken member of the Candlelight Party (CP) has reacted harshly to a suggestion by the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) that several parties form an alliance to consolidate their support and win for votes in next year’s July 23 parliamentary election.

The GDP held a July 26 press conference and submitted the request to several parties including CP, Khmer Will, Cambodian Reform and Kampucheaniyum, offering it as a strategy to secure more seats than the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) in the National Assembly.

Sin Chan Pov Rozet, a CP member in Battambang province, said that given the circumstances, the CP does not need to merge with any other party. She also said the party was “not naive enough to form an alliance with dishonest people”.

“We are not so ignorant that we would merge with those who attacked our president. This request is not a worthwhile strategy. We are not so ignorant that we would form this alliance,” she said in a social media post on July 27.

CP vice-president Son Chhay said on July 28 that Pov Rozet was just raising her personal concerns as a party member, as was her right, adding that she clearly did not want the party to have any problems in the future.

He stressed that party was not currently considering forming an alliance, as it was focused on rebuilding its structure first. Once this was done, the party leadership would convene a meeting to discuss any proposed merger.

He welcomed the members of any other party who wanted to leave and join the CP, saying that alliances were often complex and a waste of time.

“We have yet to see a clear proposal from the GDP. The CP will make sure it is strong and then if they have an offer for us, they may come and discuss it with us,” he said.

Yang Saing Koma, the GDP’s chairman of the board of director, said it was natural to demand that any alliance would be coordinated very carefully with patience, transparency and due diligence.

“Our purpose is not to take seats from any party within the proposed alliance, but to help one another so that we all secure seats. The more seats a party gains, the stronger a political force the party becomes in the National Assembly,” he said.

He added that if the parties did not cooperate, some would fail to gain any seats at all. Those that did send representatives to the Assembly would almost certainly be sending less than they would have under an alliance.