Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Opposition parties sign pact to align under one name

Opposition parties sign pact to align under one name

Opposition parties sign pact to align under one name

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Parties say the new Democratic Movement for Change will merge goals and platforms but preserve individual identities.

Photo by:
Tracey Shelton

Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha at a press conference Thursday to announce a union of their opposition parties.

SAM Rainsy Party President Sam Rainsy and Human Rights Party President Kem Sokha Thursday signed an agreement to align under the name Democratic Movement for Change (DMC), with the objective of providing stronger oppostion to the ruling Cambodian People's Party. However, both parties have refused to confirm they will merge into one political party.

"We have worked together for a long time, and we realised the political trend in the world is moving towards change, such as in the US with [President-elect Barack] Obama. Therefore, in order to make a change, we have to gather all the democrats for unification," Sam Rainsy told the Post.

Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha said experts from each party would continue to study technical planning issues and devise a joint platform in hopes of making the DMC internally a stronger union and externally more interesting to eligible voters.

One party is stronger than two under a political alliance.

Kem Sokha said about 50 percent of the 8.12 million eligible voters in Cambodia would not cast their ballot for the CPP in the 2012 elections - and the alliance was hoping to draw all those votes behind it.

Last year, of the 6.01 million people who cast their votes in the national election, the CPP received the support of 3.48 million, the SRP snagged 1.31 million votes and the HRP won 397,816 votes.

"Eligible voters demand us to unite," said Kem Sokha. "Now it is time to give a choice to people who want to make a change."

He added: "We hope that our movement will encourage eligible voters who have lost faith to come back to politics."

Handle with care

Koul Panha, executive director of election monitoring at the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (Comfrel) told the Post Thursday the merging of the opposition parties will gain voters' interest, but they need to work together carefully. Otherwise, the union could easily fall apart.

"I think that one political organisation would be able to change the result in future elections," Panha said. "One party is stronger than two under a political alliance."

The SRP and HRP have committed to making one list of candidates for the next commune elections, scheduled for 2012, and the national elections in 2013.

But National Election Committee Chairman Im Suosdey said the political alliance comprised two political parties and was not legally capable of making one united list of candidates.

"Within the legal processes we have, a list of the party's candidates has to come from one [single] political party. They cannot make a list of candidates from two parties," Im Suosdey said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • Sam Rainsy, government group set to clash at IPU Geneva meet?

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy has been invited to speak at the General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, according to a former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker. A government delegation is also set to attend the meeting, a National Assembly press release