Under a portrait of George Bush, with the Stars and Stripes fluttering outside, a
Cambodian-American opened the offices of one of Cambodia's newest political parties
Sept. 26 at a downtown shophouse across from New Market.
U.S. Chief of Mission Charles Twining was among the first visitors to congratulate
Kim Kethavy, president of the Republic Democracy Party (REDEK).
A registered Republican in the United States, Kim said his party-which has been registered
with UNTAC-espouses democracy and freedom, mixing republican and democratic values.
The U.S. citizen who returned to Cambodia in July was optimistic about the future
despite a membership of only six people, including a former colonel with the Phnom
Penh armed forces.
"Public opinion wants a new man with no corruption problems and no mistakes,"
the wealthy expatriate said.
Kim said that the Phnom Penh authorities have caused no problems for his party, stressing
that the police and foreign affairs officials had been particularly cooperative.
"Everything is legal," he said. "I have full authority from UNTAC
[United Nations Transi-tional Authority in Cambodia] and from Twining."
The Cambodian peace pact was signed by four major political parties, but the U.N.-drafted
pact stipulates that other groups are welcome to contest general elections due next
A breakaway wing of the big four-the Liberal Democratic Party-set up offices here
earlier this year and a host of other fringe groups are likely to register.
As of last week, eight parties had provisionally registered with UNTAC.
Kim said he flew the U.S. flag on his building because he was an American citizen.
When asked about devastating U.S. bombing of Cambodia in the late 1960s and early
70s, he said, "They [the people] have forgotten it-the main problem is not bombing