Independent researcher and founder of the “social network” Khmer for Khmer, Kem Ley, may found as many as 1,000 political parties by the end of 2016.
Ley said his idea to diversify the options at the ballot box, which has been criticised by the Cambodia National Rescue Party as a waste of time or an attempt to split the opposition vote ahead of the next election, faces numerous challenges.
“[People] still do not understand the importance of the establishment of local parties,” he said. “There is a lack of financial resources and time, because we are relying on our own money … there’s the issue of confusion and pessimism … but we want to train people to participate in political activities.”
Ley said that the group would register 200 local parties this year and at least another 600 next year.
“Many people are giving up on the right to vote because they have no choice,” Ley said. “When we create the local parties we attract many voters who used to support the [ruling Cambodian People’s Party] who have now lost faith.
“We will not split the CNRP vote.”