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Opposition Merger Making Waves, Analysts Say

Prime Minister Hun Sen has compared news of the merger to “a storm in a bottle.”

Kem Sokha, left, leader of Human Rights Party sitting alongside with Sam Rainsy, leader of Sam Rainsy Party, in Manila last month. Kem Sokha, left, leader of Human Rights Party sitting alongside with Sam Rainsy, leader of Sam Rainsy Party, in Manila last month.
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Kem Sokha, left, leader of Human Rights Party sitting alongside with Sam Rainsy, leader of Sam Rainsy Party, in Manila last month.
Kem Sokha, left, leader of Human Rights Party sitting alongside with Sam Rainsy, leader of Sam Rainsy Party, in Manila last month.

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  • The Unification of Opposition Parties and National Election in 2013 (in Khmer)

Sok KhemaraVOA Khmer
WASHINGTON DC - The merger of Cambodia’s two main opposition parties is likely to cause some concern for the ruling party, as it attracts attention to the nation’s politics, analysts said Monday.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has compared news of the merger to “a storm in a bottle,” but Ou Virak, head of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, said the mention of a merger by Hun Sen shows he is watching closely.

“Although he has not said he is impressed or worried about the unification, it shows that the Cambodian People’s Party is paying attention to the unification process,” he said.

Lao Monghay, an independent political analyst, said the merger is likely to attract more votes among the populace, which is bound to get the ruling party’s attention.

By some estimates, some 60 percent of eligible voters do not support the ruling party, Ou Virak said. That leaves a lot of votes up for grabs in the national election scheduled for July next year, he said.

And the merger comes at a time of increasing unhappiness among many people who have not found justice in the court system and have instead taken to the streets in protest, he said.

A proper election is a good place for people to air their grievances, he said, rather than major political upheaval such as the Arab Spring, most recently, or in the Philippines or Indonesia not long ago.

A reformed National Election Committee, widely derided as politically biased toward the ruling party, would bring more confidence from the people, he said.

“And in my view, the ruling party has the power to win the election in 2013 properly with an independent NEC,” he said. “And it can win if the CPP reforms some policies, the judicial system, and others to help the CPP to win fairly, but it depends on the government too.”
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US Seeking Stronger Ties as Cambodia’s Political Reforms Move Forward​i
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28 August 2014
A senior US diplomat says the country is looking to strengthen ties with Cambodia, now that the opposition has ended a boycott of the National Assembly. “We want to have a good relationship with the nation of Cambodia, the people of Cambodia,” Scot Marciel, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asia and Pacific Bureau, told VOA Khmer in an exclusive interview. “We have an interest in a Cambodia that is successful, democratic, more prosperous, enjoying good health, and good education. Again, this is mostly up to the Cambodian people but we want to be supportive because it’s in our interest for Cambodia to be successful.” The US has made a recent diplomatic resurgence in Asia, where China’s influence continues to grow.​ Marciel, who is visiting the country, said Wednesday that Cambodia’s moves toward electoral reforms are encouraging. “I think what we’re looking to see, like the Cambodian people, the people here have made it clear that they would like to see some more reforms some progress on some of the challenges that the Cambodia faces, and we feel the same way,” he said. “We are hopeful that the government and the parliament as it is now seated can move ahead on some of the reforms that people here have called for. We think that would be a positive step.” (Sok Khemara, Washington)

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Doze Off (Movie: Hairspray)i
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25 August 2014
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You can say, "I don't know why, but every time I eat 'prahok' (Cambodian anchovy) I find myself 'dozing off' all the time." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to facebook.com/voakhmer or youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.
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