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Opposition Leader Discusses Unified Front on 'Hello VOA'

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy Thursday discussed with "Hello VOA" listeners his plan to form a unified front for the 2008 National Elections.

Following some success in the commune elections, Sam Rainsy has called for smaller parties to join him as he leads a coalition in next year's elections.

One caller dismissed the idea of joining with the party of Prince Norodom Ranariddh, saying the prince had "betrayed" the nation. Sam Rainsy responded by reminding listeners they should look toward the future, not make personal attacks or worry too much about the past.

Another caller likened the current government to the communist regime of Vietnam.

The Sam Rainsy Party gained a handful of chief seats and nearly doubled its number of councilors in some of the 1,621 communes across the country.

The ruling Cambodian People's Party swept most of the commune elections, and Prime Minister Hun Sen said afterward the government intended to stay with its current coalition partner, Funcinpec, for the 2008 elections. The prime minister dismissed the opposition's call for unity, predicting an easy CPP win next year.