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Party Leader Urges US-Cambodian Political Participation

Human Rights Party President Kem Sokha
Human Rights Party President Kem Sokha

Politically wary Cambodians in the United States need to re-energize and give opposition parties another chance to come to power, a leading opposition figure told a group in the US on Wednesday.

“I am here today to inform you that if you feel tired and lose hope, I, who am inside the country, have no chance and no ability to fight to save our country,” Human Rights Party President Kem Sokha told a gathering of US-Cambodians in Virginia. “We need all of you to continue to support us. This is the last breath of our nation, because until now all major issues that we are seeing have not been solved.”

Only about 20 people showed up to listen to Kem Sokha’s appeal, which comes amid declining interest in Cambodians in the US over politics in Cambodia.

Kem Sokha, who is in the US to drum up support for his party, told the group that major issues like territorial sovereignty, land-grabbing, corruption and the depletion of natural resources all needed attention.

“If we keep this greedy and violent leader in power, we believe that the resources will be depleted like in the past,” he said.

The Human Rights Party won three seats in the National Assembly in the 2008 national election. Kem Sokha said Wednesday the best way now for the opposition to overcome the ruling Cambodian People's Party was to unite “democrats” under a moderate banner.

“I think that the position taken by Kem Sokha and the democrats is right and should receive support from all the people, because this is a regrouping of democracy lovers,” Prom Sunnora, who attended the meeting, said afterward.

The Human Rights party is scheduled to hold its third anniversary and the congress of its North America branch this weekend, as it looks for a winning strategy in future elections.