B RINGING an end to Cambodia's guerrilla war and seeking the return of Cambodian land
from neighboring countries are part of Sam Rainsy's 10-point platform for a new political
Strong nationalistic overtones, along with promises to clean up a "dirty"
government and political environment, will be the base of Rainsy's party.
He said last week the name of the party and the composition of a 300-member "national
council" would be announced next month.
He believed that following the congresses of the Funcinpec party and Son Sann's faction
of the BLDP, he would be in a good position to take advantage of discontentment within
Rainsy, expelled from Funcinpec and the National Assembly, said the majority of Funcinpec
members had already left the party "in their minds."
Many other Khmers were also dissatisfied with the government and anxious for change.
"They are not fooled by the appearance of change, by the appearance of democracy,
even the re-establishment of the monarchy without the King having any power.
"If you scratch the veneer of cosmetic changes, the situation remains the same.
For the people, their safety, their security, their jobs, nothing has changed."
As long as "CPP and Funcinpec officials are talking about making this coalition
forever", the lure of an new opposition party would be attractive to many people.
Rainsy said his party's 10 key principles would be to:
- Bring peace to Cambodia;
- Attempt to reclaim land taken by "all" of Cambodia's neighbors during
the past few decades;
- Promote "social justice" and "equal opportunity" for all;
- Improve human rights;
- Reduce corruption;
- Introduce a "clear" immigration policy with "controls and measures"
- Ensure respect for Cambodia's territorial sovereignty;
- Stop widespread deforestation;
- Cancel certain foreign investment contracts signed by the government, particularly
several signed with Malaysian firms
While achieving the two first objectives appear difficult, Rainsy was adamant
he had clear plans.
If in power, his party would stop all major military offensives against the Khmer
Rouge and implement a policy of "containment".
He hoped to achieve a kind of stalemate, which he stressed was neither a cease-fire
nor a partitioning of Cambodia, with the KR.
He would then concentrate on rural development of government areas, and encourage
continuing defections of guerrillas and civilians from KR areas.
"There are a few [KR] leaders who will not join us, but they will die by themselves
if their supporters leave them."
Asked whether he favored the prospect of political negotiations with certain elements
of the KR leadership, he said he supported the advice of the King on national reconciliation.
He agreed with the King's view that top leaders such as Pol Pot should never be allowed
to return, but others could form political parties.
As for reclaiming Cambodia border territory, he said a Rainsy government would start
by canceling treaties signed with Vietnam by Hun Sen in the 1980s.
He alleged the treaties had allowed Vietnam to take over strips of Cambodian border
land, of between two-30km.
Thailand and Laos had also "taken advantage" of the war in Cambodia to
On whether Cambodia should seek to physically reclaim such land, he said he proposed
using only "legal and peaceful" means, such as international tribunals,
to try to get its return.
Rainsy said more details of the party's political program would be announced next
month, along with its leadership and internal bylaws.
Most of the party's funds would come from overseas Khmers.
"I'm proud of that, because these people earned their living, their money, honestly.
It did not come from corruption, from environmental destruction."
He said "thousands of dollars" of donations had been made to him on recent
trips overseas, which was being spent on social work in Cambodia such as digging