Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) deputy Kem Sokha said yesterday that the ruling party was actively trying to split the country’s opposition parties, comparing the situation to the tripartite political struggle along the Thai border during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Sokha, speaking to several hundred supporters in Kampot town, said the Cambodian People’s Party had in the past divided political competition in the Kingdom to gain control. He referred to the events that led up to the Paris Peace Accords in October of 1991, in which three factions with separate agendas – the Khmer Rouge, the royalist Funcinpec party and the Khmer People’s National Liberation Front (KPNLF) – had been united in opposition to Hun Sen, yet eventually lost power.
“Our competitor was successful in the past because of their strategy of divide and rule,” he said. “We already know their strategy. They want to split us, because if our group is split, we are very weak.”
He added that following the 1991 agreement, “they” were successfully able to quash each part of the coalition separately, leading to their ruling party status today.
“Now, [they] are trying hard to break [CNRP president] Sam Rainsy from Kem Sokha,” he said. “Some people think now that Sam Rainsy is different from Kem Sokha . . . [Rainsy and Sokha] are one, and the only goal is to rescue the nation.”
In response to Sokha’s remarks, CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said his party does not employ tricks or division strategies to further its political motives. Furthermore, he said, the CPP itself has internal divisions, though the unity of the party overrides such minor considerations.
“The important factors are not determined by [outside forces]. It is up to the internal [workings] of each party to see if it is broken by itself,” Eysan said, claiming that the CNRP actively seeks to break apart other parties.