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Kong Korm: ‘Arrogant’ Sam Rainsy has ‘betrayed the people’s will’

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Kong Korm spoke with the Post in 2016. Heng Chivoan

Kong Korm: ‘Arrogant’ Sam Rainsy has ‘betrayed the people’s will’

Kong Korm, the former top adviser to the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) who recently announced his return to the political stage, has blasted Sam Rainsy’s “arrogance”.

He said the leadership of the newly nominated “acting president” of the party has “betrayed the people’s will”.

However, Sam Rainsy used a public forum in the French capital, Paris, on Saturday to claim that he and Kem Sokha were still “one person”.

Sam Rainsy also repeated his warning that former CNRP politicians hoping to use last week’s law change to return to politics would be serving Prime Minister Hun Sen, who is also the president of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).

Kong Korm, a senior politician who at one point was president of the former Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), last week declared his return to politics after the National Assembly passed an amendment to Article 45 of the Law on Political Parties.

The amendment will permit the prime minister to request King Norodom Sihamoni to reinstate the political rights of those who have had them removed and who are deemed to have respected the court’s ruling.

Kong Korm, preparing to become an adviser to the Khmer Will Party (KWP) led by his youngest son Kong Monika, slammed Sam Rainsy, who last week claimed that opposition politicians who took advantage of the law change to seek a return to politics risked “betraying” the CNRP.

Korm told The Post that he no longer trusted Sam Rainsy’s leadership and that he did not believe the efforts of the opposition figure, who currently lives abroad to avoid a slew of outstanding legal cases, would succeed.

“I do not believe in [the CNRP] because Sam Rainsy has failed in all tests. I think people support the ruling party and [the national elections] were very clear and fair in 2013."

“As for the 55 seats [in the National Assembly won by the CNRP] and the 68 seats [won by the ruling CPP], the results were not wrong, and after the opposition [CNRP] was absent, many people turned to support the CPP,” he said.

Korm said disagreements with the CNRP leadership made him “change his mind” about returning to the party.

“I did not want to return to the CNRP because there were disagreements. First, Sam Rainsy did not [appreciate] the [party’s] increase of seats in 2013 and continued to call for bigger and bigger protests, which seemed to be constant and dangerous and demanding the prime minister to step down."

“Second, Kem Sokha said the CNRP was following the foreign strategy of [fomenting] a ‘colour revolution’ which proved successful in Tunisia and Ukraine,” he said.

Kong Korm, who used to be close to Sam Rainsy, the president of his party at one time, said Rainsy is a “subjective choice” and a person who has betrayed the people’s will.

He used the examples of Rainsy accepting a second royal pardon via a prime ministerial request, and his agreeing to the CPP’s wish to amend the Constitution away from the two-thirds formula regarding seats in the National Assembly when forming a government to the 50 plus one system.

In 2006, Sam Rainsy wrote to Prime Minister Hun Sen and the then National Assembly president Prince Norodom Ranariddh of Funcinpec, urging them to allow the formation of a new government by using a majority vote system of 50 per cent plus one. This change likely helped the CPP to form a government alone.

“This is his arrogance because he has received pardons from the King via the prime minister’s request and he has never considered that he has betrayed the will of the people."

“As he accepted the pardon from the King, he forgot the grenade explosion in front of the National Assembly,” he said, referring to the 1997 grenade attack at a rally led by Rainsy that claimed at least 16 lives and injured scores more.

“He only thinks of his interests and the interests of his group. I want to make it clear that Rainsy’s failure in all tests is like his deception in all tests,” he said.

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