Political leaders competing against the Cambodian People's
Party have remained divided, competing with each other instead of unifying its
voice, a leading human rights official said.
The competing parties need a strong alliance in order to
compete with the CPP, said Brad Adams, Asia
director of Human Rights Watch.
"The Cambodian People's Party is trying to break the
opposition party's voice," Adams said.
"They are trying to persuade the opposition party members or activists by
promising to provide positions as government advisers and things like
The competing parties "made plenty of mistakes over the
years by competing instead of uniting," he said.
With less than two weeks remaining in the campaign, leaders
of the three main opponents, the Sam Rainsy, Norodom Ranariddh and Human Rights
parties, have been unable to come together.
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said there were "points of
weakness" in other party leaders, such as accusations leveled against
Prince Norodom Ranariddh of the sale of Funcinpec's party headquarters before
he assembled his own party, and lawsuits of former employees of Human Rights
Party President Kem Sokha.
"We are afraid and unconfident to join with any
political parties that have not cleared [such allegations] and don’t have transparency,"
Sam Rainsy said.
Kem Sokha denied involvement in corruption and said he
already testified at court in cases brought by his former employees.
Sam Rainsy regularly rejected the idea of unification, Kem
Sokha said, and neither the opposition nor Norodom Ranariddh's party have shown
an ability to unite.
"If they knew how to unite, then the new party would
not have been created," he said, adding that his party "always
Prince Ranariddh is running his self-named party from exile
in Kuala Lumpur
and faces a prison sentence and fine for breach of trust if he returns. He said
by phone recently he had already requested unification with Sam Rainsy and Kem
Sokha, to no avail.
"I've been suggesting to Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha since
October 2007 the demolition of the Sam Rainsy Party, the Human Rights Party and
the Norodom Ranariddh Party, in order to create a large nationalist
party," he said. "I am strongly disappointed, and regret that Kem
Sokha and Sam Rainsy have ignored my suggestion."
CPP lawmaker Chiem Yeap, who is a candidate for Prey Veng
province, told VOA Khmer recently that all the parties facing the CPP were
welcome to unite.
"All the political parties in Cambodia have
full rights to join their political parties together," he said. "But
the Cambodian People's Party is still trying to work, because our people won
the election. That is what made Kem Sokha's party, Norodom Ranariddh and Sam
Rainsy to try to pull our credit our honor and our party reputation down."