|Human Rights Party leader Kem Sokha said that “even if we cannot merge” the parties should not “color one another.” Photo: Im Sothearith, VOA Khmer|
Philadelphia on Friday, marking the fourth anniversary of the party and
planning for upcoming commune elections in 2012.
Kem Sokha said the party will campaign next year on providing more
public services to local communities and mitigating discrimination
against people of different political beliefs. HRP officials will also
seek to eliminate bribes for public services, he said.
services across the country to meet the needs and demands of local
people,” he said. “We will install computers and generators in all the
communes led by [the Human Rights Party] to help speed up the processing
of people’s documents.”
threats, what he called “foreign invasion,” dictatorship and poverty.
decided to focus on national integrity and reducing illegal immigration.
Cambodia’s current immigration law goes unheeded, due to “foreign
influences” that his party is not influenced by, he said.
two-term limit on the office of prime minister. The Human Rights Party
already practices such a term limit, he said.
branches of government while also promoting the agricultural sector, he
and make technical schools available for those who do not want to go to
university, so that they have skills to work,” he said. “These are only
possible if corruption is eliminated. HRP has a strategy to eliminate
corruption from the top. We aren’t going to go the way the party in
power has. Asset declaration must be made publicly, not in a closed
Assembly, well behind the leading opposition Sam Rainsy Party, which has
26. However, party leader Sam Rainsy is facing a prison sentence at
home and remains in self exile abroad, which observers note could
present organizational and political difficulties for the party.
occasionally since the last election, in 2008, but neither side has been
able to fully agree with the other.
able to work together, once we have set a democratic system. The HRP has
been working on this and has implemented it. So you can join us.”
(pictured), former Secretary General of the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) and
the party strongman, has resigned as an MP for the Battambang
constituency where he had served for several terms already.
It is not sure what prompted him to resign, but he was known to be under tremendous pressures after he was publicly attacked Mr. Mao Monivan
for nepotism and cronyism. Mr. Mao Monivan had resigned as an MP and
was then expelled from the party for his public outburst against Mr. Eng
Chhay Eang and the party spokesman, Mr. Yim Sovan.
Mr. Eng Chhay
Eang was instrumental in strengthening the party’s rural base and in
the setting up of party branches across the country. He is politically
astute and earned high praises from Mr. Sam Rainsy for his intelligence
and management skills. He was once touted as a possible successor to Mr.
Sam Rainsy as a party president due to his political shrewdness.
However, he was heavily criticised for his heavy-handedness against
internal criticism and has often been considered as a liability to the
party due to his past gambling addiction.
Mr. Eang Chhay was replaced by Mr. Vann Narith.
the same time, Mrs. Long Sakhorn, an MP from the ruling Cambodian
People’s Party, has also tendered her resignation as an MP for the seat
of Prey Veng and she was replaced by Mr. Pov Samy.
|Hor Namhong vs. Sam Rainsy|
French Supreme Court (“Cour de Cassation”) reportedly overruled earlier
this week previous judicial decisions related to the defamation lawsuit
filed by Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong against opposition
leader Sam Rainsy in Paris. Therefore, Hor Namhong has finally and
definitively lost his lawsuit against Sam Rainsy who accuses him of
being a former Khmer Rouge leader responsible for the death of many
|A scene from the documentary “Who Killed Chea Vichea?” Chea Vichea, a
popular Cambodian union leader, was assassinated on January 22, 2004 in
Phnom Penh. Photo: Courtesy of Producers of ” Who Killed Chea Vichea?”
film about slain labor leader Chea Vichea at its party headquarters for
International Labor Day, May 1.
investigation that followed the 2004 murder of the activist and the
subsequent jailing of two men widely considered innocent.
important opportunity for workers to understand the death of Chea
must remember his bravery in struggling and demanding the rights of
Union of Workers before he was gunned down outside a newspaper kiosk in
Phnom Penh in 2004. His brother, Chea Mony, assumed his mantel.
Chea Mony said Friday. “We must sacrifice, and then we will get our
Sopheak, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said the party
“should not make trouble” while Cambodia is engaged in a border conflict
Court on Monday sentenced the exiled opposition leader, Sam Rainsy, in
absentia to 2 years in jail and fined 2,000 U.S. dollars for public
defamation and inciting discrimination, according to the verdict.
comments that Sam Rainsy, president of the Sam Rainsy Party, made the
speech on April 17, 2008, saying that the current Cambodian Deputy
Prime Minister Hor Namhong, minister of foreign affairs, was formerly
the chief of Boeung Trabek prison in the Khmer Rouge regime.
against government officials,” said the verdict read by the presiding
judge Seng Neang on Monday.
the lawyer for Hor Namhong, told reporters after the verdict
symbolic fine of 1 euro on Sam Rainsy for comments in his autobiography
“Rooted In The Stone.”
already been sentenced in absentia up to 12 years in prison for
vandalism after he uprooted border marks with Vietnam on October 29,
2009 and for forging public documents and disseminating false
information relating to a map of the border between Cambodia and
trying to “break” his own Sam Rainsy Party and steal its members, even
as the two parties remain in talks about a potential merger.
a letter dated Monday, HRP president Kem Sokha wrote to Sam Rainsy to
inquire about the terms of such a merger, which has been under
discussion for months.
Kem Sokha asked whether Sam Rainsy
supported an option entailing the merger of the HRP and SRP under a new
banner, or a second option in which the SRP would subsume the HRP.
support the first option and see that this is an opportunity for a
union of patriots and democrats to arrange a democratic movement for
change,” Kem Sokha wrote.
In response, however, Sam Rainsy wrote
in a letter to his own supporters that the HRP was using the same
“tricks” employed by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party to undermine
the SRP and induce defections.
Sam Rainsy has lived abroad since
2009 to avoid a lengthy jail term handed down against him last year in
connection with a protest he staged along the Kingdom’s eastern border
against alleged Vietnamese
encroachment. In recent weeks, Kem
Sokha has appealed for SRP members to join the HRP, declaring last
month that “the HRP will become the biggest opposition party in
Cambodia if Sam Rainsy cannot return”.
Such rhetoric, Sam Rainsy said in his letter, is counterproductive in the face of the parties’ merger talks.
choosing any FORMULA for a union, we must first show the required
SPIRIT for a genuine and sincere union,” Sam Rainsy wrote.
fact, by adopting the CPP’s attitude toward us, the HRP is – willingly
or not – serving the CPP interest and they have become a CPP de facto
ally, at a time when the SRP is the main target for the CPP in the face
of very serious national problems.”
In the 2008 national
elections, the SRP won 26 seats while the HRP netted just three. Both
opposition parties were dwarfed by the ruling party, which won 90 seats
in parliament and serves as an effective rubber stamp for Prime
Minister Hun Sen.
During a visit to the Kingdom last year,
United States secretary of state Hillary Clinton encouraged the SRP and
HRP to put aside their differences and form a united opposition against
the ruling party.
|Kem Sokha, president of Human Right Party, called the merger the “final
chance” for the parties to organize for democratic change. Photo by Im Sothearith
opposition leader Sam Rainsy to propose both parties merge ahead of
elections next year, but the two sides remain unable to find common
be formed under a new banner, rather than have his party merge under
the Sam Rainsy Party banner. He called the merger the “final chance”
for the parties to organize for democratic change.
democracy-building so that all can live together,” Kem Sokha said in a
phone interview Monday. “We tremendously want to mobilize and win
against the [Cambodian People’s Party]. Then we can change the current
years, following national elections in 2008 that gave 26 seats to the
Sam Rainsy Party and three seats to the Human Rights Party. The CPP won
makes it not possible to accept any other forces,” he said. “We have
seen since 2003 only those who leave, not those who join. So now that
the space is narrow, I will speak plainly. It’s narrow in that the
leadership has not been a wide democracy.”
Sokha’s language echoed that of the CPP. Before any integration, he
said, both sides will need to see each other as partners, “not
enemies,” he said.
guilty verdicts for several charges related to anti-Vietnamese protests
in 2009. It is unclear whether a political solution can be found for
his return for 2012 commune elections or 2013 national elections.
Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia, said both parties
lack a willingness to cooperate.
when the two are added up to each other, there are clearly overlapping
points that impact each other,” he said.
said, the two parties will gain little by waiting until too close to
the election if they are to come together.