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Obama Showed Peaceful Change: Opposition

Opposition party leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha, who earlier this month joined in a political alliance, said Thursday the recent inauguration of US President Barrack Obama was a good example of how democracy can bring peaceful changes.

“In first-world superpowers and developed countries like the US, people still need change,” said Sam Rainsy, whose eponymous party holds 26 seats in the National Assembly. “Americans wanted change, so I believe that Cambodians, who are facing 1,000 times more hardship, suffering, and poverty than Americans, really want change.”

Kem Sokha, president of the Human Rights Party, which has three seats in the Assembly, said the democratic model of the US demonstrated “peaceful power transfers” among “sportsmen.”

Both men appeared on “Hello VOA” Thursday following the joining of their parties in the Political Democratic Movement for Change.

“The alliance is to gather together nationalists, those who love the nation and justice, to stand up and help save the country,” Sam Rainsy said. “Cambodia does not belong to any individual, but to all people.”

Cambodia has become increasingly poor, lacks freedoms and rights, and faces illegal immigration as an ongoing problem, he said, and needed a new leader.

Kem Sokha urged the disadvantaged to “join hands” and vote for the alliance in upcoming elections, repeating allegations that July’s national elections had been sullied by vote-buying, threats and intimidation from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, a charge the CPP has repeatedly denied.