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Opposition Parties To Announce ‘Movement’

Two opposition parties expect to announce the formation of a new unified movement Thursday, in an attempt to better compete against the ruling party in elections four and five years from now.

Officials of the Sam Rainsy and Human Rights parties said Wednesday the coalition, to be called the Grand Movement of Democrats in Cambodia, was a step toward a unified party in the future.

But the main point of forming the alliance was a need for “change,” Sam Rainsy said. “We need a new political power structure and a new leader for the country.”

No technical details for the unified movement were available Wednesday, including who would be president of any new party.

Human Rights Party President Kem Sokha said that in the upcoming commune elections, in 2012, and the national election the following year, the two parties will have joint registration with the National Election Committee.

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith reiterated Wednesday confidence in the ruling Cambodian People’s Party and its ability to win the upcoming elections.

Lao Monghay, a senior researcher for the Asian Human Rights Commission, said the current political situation called for action on good governance in the country, and not too much worry over a new opposition movement.

The word “grand,” however, harkened back to the days of the Khmer Rouge, he said, and should be removed from the title.