In the wake of minor wins in the local commune elections early this month, two opposition parties are now in negotiations to merge together for next year’s general election.
Officials from the Sam Rainsy and Human Rights parties are set to meet next month in Manila to lay groundwork for a possible merging before the national election scheduled for July 2013.
Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, sees this as a positive move. The election law provides advantages to a bigger party, he said. And an opposition merger will make it easier to field competent candidates and to spend money wisely, he said.
“If they stay separated it gives a lot of advantages to the Cambodian People’s Party,” Ou Virak told VOA Khmer. “If these parties merge, they have a chance to win in 2013.”
Neither party showed well in the local commune elections earlier this month, with the Sam Rainsy Party winning just 22 out of 1,633 commune chief positions, followed by the Human Rights Party with 18. The CPP won the rest, an overwhelming majority.
But opposition officials maintain that irregularities in voter registration and on polling day skewed the actual will of the people, giving them a chance to win in 2013.
“Once these two parties merge together, it pushes momentum to attract supporters,” Ou Virak said. “Especially those swing voters.”