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Opposition Parties Seek To Unite

The leader of the Human Rights Party on Thursday publicly announced his intent to form a “unique political party alliance” with opposition leader Sam Rainsy, to compete with the ruling party in coming elections.

The Human Rights Party won three seats in July’s national election, following 26 seats for the Sam Rainsy Party and 90 for the Cambodian People’s Party.

The “unity” would provide “a new choice and a new hope to the people,” HRP President Kem Sokha told reporters Thursday. The parties would seek an alliance in electoral list registrations “to compete with the CPP,” he said.

The announcement was the result of requests from party activists from Cambodia, the US and Canada for a unification, party officials said.

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Mu Sochua said Thursday she would take the idea to party leader Sam Rainsy “for consideration.”

“We understand that we must unite and strengthen the principles of democracy, the respect of human rights and the freedom of the people,” she said.

Kem Sokha said the time was right for unity, as Cambodia continues to be plagued by poverty, the narrowing of democracy, violence against human rights, social injustice and other ills.

No agreement has been drafted or signed, something both sides agreed would be necessary.

Observers said the joining of the two parties would attract people’s support but would have little effect on the CPP.