Human Rights Party President Kem Sokha (centre) greets villagers in Boeung Preah commune, in Prey Veng province’s Ba Phnom district, during a forum for supporters yesterday. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post
Since announcing their new joint democratic movement party 10 days ago, opposition party leaders have embarked on a grassroots propaganda campaign to raise the profile of their fledgling political party.
In a joint trip to two districts of Prey Veng province, Sam Rainsy Party and Human Rights Party leaders Kem Sokha, Mu Sochua, Yim Sovann and Yem Ponharith met with nearly 1,000 people in Ba Phnom and Pea Raing districts.
Kem Sokha, president of the HRP and deputy president of the new Cambodia Democratic Movement for National Rescue, said the parties had joined forces for voters and recommended they vote for the party at next year’s national election.
Participants in the forum, however, expressed uncertainty about the success of the new movement and concern that the SRP and HRP might have internal problems.
The National Rescue party is still in an embryonic stage, and has not yet been officially registered as a party with the Ministry of Interior, and as SRP parliamentarian Sochua emphasised, even the official name of the party was still conjecture at this stage.
In the meetings, supporters were insisting upon a visible commitment from the two allied opposition parties to a long-lasting union.
Temg Meng Siek, 48, from Pea Raing district’s Roka commune, told opposition leaders he was worried the merger would be a short-lived phenomenon.
“I am worried the parties will merge and then break after the next election. I love both parties. I am not an activist, but there is lots of support from the people,” he said.
Khiev Oun, 70, the newly elected HRP first deputy Boeung Preah commune chief in Ba Phnom district, felt excited the parties were uniting.
The HRP scooped large wins in Prey Veng province at the June 3 commune elections.
CPP Secretary of State Keo Remy mocked the latest campaign, calling it “laughable”.
“No one knows – from what do they rescue? If the ‘rescue’ is from a genocidal regime, they are right,” he said.
“But there is nothing serious like what they imply in their name.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Meas Sokchea at [email protected]