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Political alliance forged from three small parties

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Nhek Bun Chhay (left), president of the Khmer National United Party (KNUP) and Mam Sonando (right), president of the Beehive Social Democratic Party (BSDP) during a press conference on November 25, 2020. Heng Chivoan

Political alliance forged from three small parties

Three political parties have officially formed the Alliance of Khmer Democrats, pledging to solve social issues through Khmer-to-Khmer communication and cultivate a new model of nationalism in Cambodia’s younger generation.

The alliance was announced on November 25 by Mam Sonando, president of the Beehive Social Democratic Party (BSDP), Nhek Bun Chhay, president of the Khmer National United Party (KNUP), and Kem Rithisit, president of Khmer Unity Party (KUP). The press conference to announce the new coalition was attended by officials from each of the parties.

The alliance selected Sonando as the president, Bun Chhay as deputy president and Ly as secretary-general. The three parties said they would join forces to propose amendments to the Constitution, amend the immigration law and nationality law, and participate in border issues.

Sonando said the decision to form an alliance was aimed at uniting Cambodian democrats in order to benefit the nation and defend its democracy. The alliance vowed to never split up in the future.

“Our philosophy is to make sure our nation lives well. We will continue to discuss how to make it stronger. However, this strength can be achieved without wanting the duty of prime minister. The Alliance of Khmer Democrats comes from three parties, not a prime minister. We call for all parties who love the nation to join each other to improve our nation,” Sonando said.

He said the three parties joined in the alliance because they have similar goals, adding that they would cooperate in the commune elections in 2022 and the general election in 2023.

“In the past, there was accusation and killing. Nowadays, if we accuse each other endlessly, how will the Khmer people have opportunity to unify and love each other and work together,” Sonando said.

Pa Chanroeun, president of the Democratic Institute, said the alliance would create a new political movement in Cambodian society. But, he said, the alliance would remain limited in its pursuit of a democratic, free-and-fair political playing field because its members come from small parties that had little support in the last election.

“The future of this alliance depend on the ability of these three small parties to hold themselves as genuinely democratic politicians and launch specific political programmes that earn the trust from the Khmer people from now on,” Chanroeun said.

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