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Hun Sen Rebukes Opposition's Call for Unity

Prime Minister Hun Sen scoffed Monday at the opposition's call for a united front in the 2008 National Election, saying his ruling Cambodian People's Party would be able to fend off any political attack with development—not violence.

Funcinpec, the government's coalition partner, was soundly beaten in local elections earlier this month, and opposition leader Sam Rainsy has used their defeat and his own small gains at the polls as a rallying cry to smaller parties.

In a ceremony in Siem Reap Monday, Hun Sen criticized parties who "consider themselves as mountains, while others as sand on the mountains, and others as grass on the mountains to stand against the CPP."

"They plan to do something to the CPP in 2008," he said. "Now the democrats and the royalists merge. I say this is the same thing that happened during the 1998 election, in the 2003 election, and now again in 2008. I'm joking in Siem Reap when I say if these people do not think about toppling the CPP, maybe lightning will strike them."

Sangkum Jatiniyum Front Party leader Sisowath Thomico said that royalist parties should be united first among themselves and then with other opposition.