Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CNRP ‘can’t ignore’ new parties: Sokha

CNRP ‘can’t ignore’ new parties: Sokha

CNRP ‘can’t ignore’ new parties: Sokha

Cambodia National Rescue Party deputy president Kem Sokha yesterday acknowledged that the party faces an electoral threat from a string of recently established small political parties, as the opposition gathered yesterday to discuss priorities ahead of the 2017 and 2018 elections.

In front of some 150 lawmakers and provincial party officials at Phnom Penh’s Imperial Garden Villa & Hotel, Sokha said the opposition needed to be mindful of the new entrants, differing from past, more dismissive comments from the party.

“New parties will have no chance to win, but we can’t ignore [them]. They won’t win the seats, but they can take our votes,” Sokha said.

Four groups have entered the fray this year, including the Beehive Social Democratic Party, resurrected by long-time activist Mam Sonando; the Khmer National Party, founded by ex-CNRP member Lak Sopheap; the Grassroots Democratic Party, built out of the Khmer for Khmer advocacy group; and the Khmer Power Party, formed by dissident Sourn Serey Ratha.

The latter, which emerged from the Khmer People Power Movement, was recently legalised after previously being labelled a terrorist organisation by the government.

Analysts see the move as part of efforts by the government to split the opposition vote. However it wasn’t just external challenges canvassed at yesterday’s seminar.

In a presentation, the party identified several “weaknesses” including poor internal communication, inadequate human resources, splits in overseas fundraising structures and a lack of media access, though the CNRP is currently fundraising to launch its own television station.

A dearth of women was also noted as was the absence of a youth structure. The ruling party, in comparison, controls the strong Union of Youth Federation, headed by the premier’s son Hun Many.

The CNRP will also establish a new media response team, to counter the government’s Press and Quick Reaction Unit, said Sokha.

But looking ahead, CNRP president Sam Rainsy said he was hopeful, provided the new bipartisan National Election Committee ensured free and fair elections.

Rainsy and Sokha listed several policy agenda items including setting up “independent courts” to settle land disputes, helping undocumented Cambodians register with authorities and transferring decision-making powers to local authorities.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince injured, wife dies after accident

    THE wife of former First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Ouk Phalla, 39, died while the prince was “severely” injured following a road accident in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nub district on Sunday morning, officials said. Rananriddh, who is also the president of the Funcinpec

  • Bun Heang mocks US, threatens its citizens in scathing open letter

    After being hit with sanctions from the US Department of Treasury, Cambodian General Hing Bun Heang said he would retaliate against any US national who does not respect his country’s sovereignty, has ambitions to invade Cambodia or incites “traitors” in the Kingdom to do

  • Police warn boycott FB group involved in the “Clean Fingers Campaign”

    Police said on Tuesday that they will pick up members of a Facebook group involved in the “Clean Fingers Campaign” that promotes a boycott of next month’s national elections. However, police merely planned to “educate” the group for now, but warned that if the

  • Ranariddh 'seriously injured', his wife dies in accident in Preah Sihanouk

    THE wife of former first prime minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh has died. Ouk Phalla succumbed to injuries sustained in a traffic accident on National Road 4 in Preah Sihanouk’s Prey Nub district this morning. She and the prince were immediately rushed to the Preah Sihanouk