Following the merger of the Kampucheaniyum Party (KP) and the Khmer National United Party (KNUP), former opposition lawmaker Yem Ponhearith, the founder of KP, explained his role and the role of the KNUP’s Nhek Bun Chhay will be in their newly merged party over the next year leading up to the general election.

In an October 30 social media post, Ponhearith said that he decided to merge his party with KNUP in order to increase their chances of winning seats in the National Assembly in next year’s general election.

He said that following the merger he will hold the office of deputy president of the KNUP and that their new party will need to make some changes if it wants to win seats.

“We are not just cooperating with each other, we have merged into just one party under the name KNUP and we have agreed to work on reforms and to change some of our strategies for winning the support of voters,” he said.

He said that the party may undergo even bigger reforms after next year’s election, such as changing the party logo, slogans and possibly even the party’s name.

The KNUP held its extraordinary assembly on October 30 to approve its draft policies and bylaws and they elected the party’s leaders while also planning their strategy in advance of the next election.

They approved their five-point priority platform, which includes loans for farmers at two per cent interest per year for sums between one and four million riel; free medical treatment for people with disabilities, the elderly and pregnant women; requiring all students up to grade 12 to attend a full-day of classes; providing allowances to higher education students; building homes for poor people with a mortgage payment of $30 per month, and instituting a minimum wage that starts at one million riel per month.

Ponhearith said that merging with KNUP was not done in the interest of any individual but for the greater good of both parties.

“Now that we have merged, we will continue to follow the middle path of moderation and non-violence. We don’t regard any Khmer person as an enemy and we will always welcome other politicians to join us for the sake of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law,” he said.

The merge of these two parties was of no apparent concern for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, said the party spokesman Sok Eysan.

“Loser plus loser equals loser,” Eysan stated in response to news of the merger.