Some 5,000 supporters turned out for the congress of the League for Democracy Party in Phnom Penh yesterday.
With an eye on next year’s commune elections, members voted on their political statutes, candidates for the LDP central and permanent committees, and affirmed the roles of president, vice president and secretary-general.
Khem Veasna, a former member of the Sam Rainsy Party who founded the LDP in 2005, was again endorsed as its leader.
“Since I left the Sam Rainsy Party, so far, the feeling that compelled me to start the League for Democracy has not changed,” he told supporters.
“In Cambodian politics, there is no one who doesn’t pursue their own interests, both those who rule the country and those who grapple for power. They always want their own interests.”
Cambodian leaders, he continued, “are blind people – acting ignorant, leading people in the dark. They take Buddhist teachings to cover their face while they conduct business and exploit people.”
Veasna’s outspoken stance against Cambodia’s monkhood has riled many within the Buddhist clergy.
Yesterday, he also took aim at elements within civil society who have, under the guise of helping people, become entrenched businesses, he said.
Leang Chan, a supporter from Kandal province who joined the LDP two years ago, said Veasna’s speech resonated with him, adding that he believed the LDP wanted to “help, not run” the country.