Hun Sen Denies Request for Opposition Coalition

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday warned unidentified foreign countries not to interfere by pushing “an opposition party” into attempting to form a coalition with the CPP following July’s national election.

“There has been an informal request from foreign [countries] asking an opposition party to join in the government,” he said.

“[For] democracy in the West there must be an opposition party. I want not only one but many strong opposition parties, but I will have a one-party government,” he added.

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said Sunday by telephone that there is one country, which he declined to name, that has repeatedly pushed the SRP to try to form a coalition with the CPP.

“I know the country…the one that always helps Sam Rainsy’s party,” he said, but declined to comment further.

However, SRP Secretary-Gen­eral Eng Chhay Eang denied that any country had pushed for a coalition between his party and the CPP.

“Only the voters will decide which party will run the government,” he said.

Speaking during a groundbreaking ceremony in Pursat province, the prime minister also said that he had refused Human Rights Party President Kem Sokha’s request for a televised forum featuring all prime minister candidates.

“It would be a waste of my time,” he said. “Hun Sen is not afraid to meet with Kem Sokha.”

Kem Sokha said Sunday that if Hun Sen does not participate in the public forum, it would benefit the HRP because voters will see the prime minister’s refusal as a type of surrender.

Puthea Hang, director for the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said he supported the idea of a televised forum but said it was unlikely that such a debate would ever happen.

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