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Opposition to Change Tactics: Sam Rainsy

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said Monday his party was changing tactics, looking to make changes beyond demonstrations and protests.

“Before, we mainly organized street demonstrations, because we had no other options to be visible,” the leader of his self-named party told VOA Khmer. “Now we can be much more constructive and effective about bringing change through other mechanisms.”

The announcement comes following a defamation trial against SRP Kampot lawmaker Mu Sochua, on Friday, and the suit of 22 military officials, also for defamation, against SRP lawmaker Ho Vann.

Both parliamentarians had their immunity suspended by the National Assembly, now dominated by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, whose members hold 90 of 123 Assembly seats.

Sam Rainsy said his party would not be drawn onto his adversary’s “battlefield,” as this gained nothing for the opposition.

Human Rights Party President Kem Sokha, whose party has combined in an opposition coalition with the Sam Rainsy Party, said the decision for a change in tactics was up to Sam Rainsy.

The opposition must be strong in its stance when the ruling-party government puts on more pressure, he said.

Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Teacher’s Association, said the decision was up to opposition leaders, but he warned they must also think about the best interests of the people and the nation.

His association would continue to back parties that work for the public interest and would continue to watch the Sam Rainsy Party in the future.

Ruling party officials could not be reached for comment Monday, but CPP lawmaker Cheam Yiep told the Cambodia Daily newspaper he was hopeful the opposition would be committed to helping the country develop.