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Opposition Leaders Call for Unification

Only unification among nationalists can change the country for the better, opposition leaders in Washington said Thursday.

“If we don’t unify, we can’t restore a country that is sinking,” said Sam Rainsy, leader of the main opposition party, as a studio guest on “Hello VOA.”

Sam Rainsy was joined by Kem Sokha, leader of the minority opposition, the Human Rights Party. Both are in the US to build support among Cambodians in the US and to visit officials in Washington.

“Of most importance is to unify for change, because our country is facing an emergency,” Kem Sokha said. “So we need to change, change from an unjust to a just society, and change from a corrupted society to a clean one. This is our goal. We have the same goal, and we will firmly walk together.”

The 2012 commune election will have only one list of candidates from a unified party, he said. And both leaders say they are aiming to upset the ruling Cambodian People’s Party in 2013.

The parties were not in alliance for the 2008 election, which saw a sweeping CPP victory of 90 of 123 National Assembly seats.

Responding to caller concerns that party members could defect to the CPP, Sam Rainsy said the “1 percent” of party members who leave were not a concern.