The Human Rights Party has responded favorably, if conditionally, to a recent written request from Prince Norodom Ranariddh asking for a union between the HRP, the SRP and the prince’s own Norodom Ranariddh Party.
Prince Ranariddh broached the idea of creating a “mass movement” to take on the CPP at the ballot box in 2008 during radio addresses stretching back to last month. He has now formally proposed the idea to SRP President Sam Rainsy and HRP President Kem Sokha in letters dated Nov 15.
“I would like to inform you that the Norodom Ranariddh Party’s council has decided unanimously in October 2007 to enable me to appeal to unite royalists [and] democrats to establish a real choice for Cambodian voters,” the letter read, aping previous public remarks from the prince.
HRP Deputy President Keo Remy said Sunday that his party would draft a response to Prince Ranariddh expressing approval of his idea. “We have agreed with Prince Norodom Ranariddh, but we must comply with the internal democratic principles of our party,” Keo Remy said. Those principles, he said, include two-term limits for the party president and an agreement that the party will not bear the name of an individual.
NRP spokesman Muth Channtha said he had already met with HRP officials to discuss the possible union, but that it was too early to say whether his party would agree to the HRP’s conditions.
“We don’t talk about political parties’ statutes, we must talk about the national benefit first,” he said, adding however that Prince Ranariddh agreed in principle to the term limits for the party president.
Despite the headway the prince appears to have made with the HRP, his offer was once again rejected by the SRP. Sam Rainsy said by telephone Sunday that the only way to unite opposition voters was to do so by recruiting at the grassroots level. “We are working at the ground level; if we wait for [an alliance at] the top, it doesn’t work,” he said.