Leaders of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party have started drafting a party platform with individual rights at its core, party officials told reporters at a press briefing at the Raffles Hotel Le Royal in Phnom Penh yesterday.
“At the outcome of the discussion today we drafted a platform about the core individual rights of human dignity, freedom, equality, solidarity, and justice,” said CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann.
The platform will be finished in three months’ time so the party can be fully ready for future campaigns, Sovann said.
The opposition party is establishing working groups in 25 provinces and the capital to review its goals and structure.
Sovann said that the party’s final platform will focus on issues of land concessions, land titling, health, education and corruption.
He did not say how it would be different in scale or detail from the party’s seven-point campaign platform during last year’s election.
“The current government does not protect the interests of society, they only protect their groups, which we have found to be under the control of about a hundred officials, ranking from small to large scale businesses,” Sovann added.
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said that alleged Vietnamese influence in Cambodia, a cause critics have accused the CNRP of using as a scare tactic, would not be in any final platform.
“Zero, it’s not even mentioned,” he said.
Opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua said that issues such as territorial integrity would “surely be addressed” when the time came, but did not comment on any specific policies.
“Any party that is serious and confident that it can win elections needs to look into its platform and sharpen it,” she said.
Representatives from Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, a German foundation for political parties which helped organise the workshop, declined to elaborate on the specifics of the CNRP’s potential policies.
“We think it’s important to have clear platforms and principles,” said KAS-Cambodia head Denis Schrey.
Government spokesman Phay Siphan said that the CNRP’s new platform was a “political campaign to gain more popularity”, citing the ruling party’s success in last year’s contested election.