Norodom Ranariddh attempted to link himself and his party to world-famous Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League of Democracy party yesterday, saying the two faced similar obstacles within their respective governments.
Just as Suu Kyi said she had no choice but to run for office in an election she openly criticised, Norodom Ranariddh said he was working within a government and election process he did not fully support.
“[Suu Kyi] said that if she wants to help the nation she has no choice besides being a parliamentarian. This is similar to what I have been saying,” Ranariddh told reporters during a meeting at the party’s headquarters in Phnom Penh yesterday.
“I prepare myself to be in office just as Aung San Suu Kyi,” Ranariddh said.
The NRP president also accused the government of not acting in the best interests of the people, in contrast to what he said had occurred during the administration of his father, King Norodom Sihanouk, when the people were put first.
“In the time of my father, there was no rich people grabbing land from poor people,” he said. Instead, Ranariddh said, the King Norodom Sihanouk administration had “defended our territorial integrity, our national sovereignty and social justice”.
Cheam Yeap, a lawmaker for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, defended the government.
“What was the prosperity of the Sihanouk regime? How many bridges did it build over the Mekong River? We [the CPP] have built this country from nothing, especially the economy,” Cheam Yeap said.
Opposition Sam Rainsy Party spokesman Yim Sovann said Ranariddh’s comparison of the NRP to the NLD was baseless because the NLD is far more popular, winning 45 seats in the recent election, while the NRP has only two seats.
To contact the reporter on this story: Cheang Sokha at [email protected]