Former Cambodian Center for Human Rights president Kem Sokha said Sunday that he has kicked off a publicity tour through 19 Cambodian provinces and three European countries to promote his nascent Human Rights Party.
Speaking from Battambang province—the fourth stop on his trip that began May 22 in Takeo province—Kem Sokha said his main goal is to educate people about the existence of the political party, which he heads, and its vision.
“I went deep into the very remote regions of Battambang and I see people are living in dire poverty. They know nothing about the election,” he said.
Human Rights Party spokesman Nhek Vannara said Kem Sokha will depart for Europe on June 7 to visit overseas Cambodians in France, Belgium and Austria, before returning June 19.
SRP President Sam Rainsy said he does not feel threatened by Kem Sokha’s campaign.
“For the Sam Rainsy Party, we [have] our network everywhere in the country,” he said.
But Norodom Ranariddh Party spokesman Muth Channtha expressed concern that Kem Sokha’s party could split votes among opposition parties.
“We are not against his declaration of a new party…but a better strategy would have been to work through existing parties to have more potential and gain more strength in defeating the ruling party,” he said.
Kem Sokha said he works for people and democracy rather than for existing political parties.
He also said that he clearly explains while campaigning that his previous NGO work and his political party are completely separate.