Combined parties could compete with dominant CPP
As election results look increasingly
likely to confirm a landslide victory for the Cambodian People’s Party
(CPP), civil society groups have begun suggesting that the Kingdom’s
main opposition parties merge in a bid to better complete with the
In an interview Sunday with a civil society radio
program, Thun Saray, president of the Cambodian Human Rights Action
Committee (CHRAC), said that if the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), Human
Rights Party (HRP) and Norodom Ranariddh Party (NRP) enter into a
coalition, they could pool their political power.
Mu Sochua, the
deputy secretary-general of SRP, said by telephone Sunday that the
three parties could merge because they share the same goal to eliminate
poverty and corruption.
“We could merge into one big vote in
parliament, but we have not yet talked about one big party. But we have
much optimism to merge,” Mu Sochua said.
Chea Vannath, an
independent analyst and former director of the Center for Social
Development, said the parties should join to help develop the country,
while Chan Sophal, president of the Cambodian Economic Association,
also said merging is an important point for the three parties because
it would make them stronger.
Chan Sophal also said that a merger
would make it easier on voters, explaining that instead of dividing the
electorate, it could make for an easier decision to cast a ballot for a
“When three parties merge, they are a good-looking competitor with the CPP because they have equivalent force,” Thun Saray said.
Protesting the election
spokesman Muth Chantha acknowledged that the three parties, who engaged
in their share of finger-pointing prior to the July 27 vote, could
join. But he said their first priority was to continue contesting the
The opposition is claiming the NEC rigged the
vote by eliminating thousands of names from voter registration lists,
giving the CPP an unfair advantage.
“We have long time to talk
about merging. We will not deny our ability to merge, but what we are
focusing on right now is rejecting the election results,” Muth Chantha
“We lost because of two reasons: The first is the fraud
committed by the National Election Committee (NEC), the second is not
having merged into one party,” Muth Chantha said.