Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Opposition leader vows return, again

Opposition leader vows return, again

Opposition leader vows return, again

120731_05

Human Rights Party president Kem Sokha (front, L), Pen Sovann (C) and SRP lawmaker Mu Sochua (front, R) attend a meeting of the Democratic Movement for National Rescue party yesterday in Phnom Penh. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

Human Rights Party president Kem Sokha (front, L), Pen Sovann (C) and SRP lawmaker Mu Sochua (front, R) attend a meeting of the Democratic Movement for National Rescue party yesterday in Phnom Penh. Photograph: Vireak Mai/Phnom Penh Post

On a Skype connection beamed into the Phnom Penh courtyard of the Human Rights Party from France, self-exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy claimed yesterday that he will return to Cambodia and campaign in the 2013 national elections.

His remarks brought waves of applause from more than 400 people assembled under an open-air tent, though it’s hardly the first time he has made such a pledge.

Leaders and members of the Human Rights and Sam Rainsy parties had come to Phnom Penh to talk about the newly formed union of their two groups, the Democratic Movement for National Rescue.

Rainsy, president of the DMNR, said the US will help pave the way for his return to lead the new party.

Along with opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua and Human Rights Party head Khem Sokha, he is traveling to the US on August 7 to meet with officials and talk about upcoming elections.

And will he be allowed to return? The government has consistently maintained that this is nothing but a pipe dream.

“I believe that there will be a resolution,” Rainsy said.

Rainsy is barred from registering to vote or standing for office because he was convicted of a crime. In 2010, courts sentenced him in absentia to a total of 12 years for uprooting a post on the border with Vietnam and producing Google maps he used to allege the Kingdom’s eastern neighbour had encroached on Cambodian soveriegn territory.

Sokha, president of the HRP and deputy president of the new party, said that Cambodia will suffer without new leadership.

“We do not let Cambodia fall down into a hole, we’ll rescue it. Vietnam and China are communist countries but they changed their leaders. Cambodia has not changed its leaders yet,” Sokha said.

After receiving the message from party leaders, the members participating in the gathering yesterday vowed to go back and spread the word at the grassroots level.

“I will explain to people what the merger is” all about, said Yuos Saroeun, Prek Tasar commune chief of Prey Veng province said.

Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, called Rainsy’s thinking “childish” and said the opposition leader was simply “gesticulating wildly”.

“He has looked at the Khmer as a puppet of the United States or a puppet of Vietnam. This is a very big mistake,” Siphan said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meas Sokchea at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group