Little-Known Party To Throw Hat in Political Ring

The little-known Khmer Democ­ratic Party will participate in the 2006 Senate elections in hopes of making the party’s name better known to voters before the 2008 na­tional elections, a party official said Monday.

The party plans to spend $180,000 to prepare for the Senate elections, said KDP President Uk Phourik, who is also a government adviser working at the Council of Ministers.

He declined to say where the mo­ney had come from.

“I don’t expect to get any concrete results, but we want voters to learn about the party,” he said.

The election of senators in 2008 will be decided by a poll of parliamentarians and commune councilors. The KDP, however, has only one elected official in its ranks, a com­mune councilor from Kampot pro­vince—which makes obtaining a Senate seat all but impossible.

National Election Committee Se­cretary-General Tep Nitha said the organization will be registering parties from today until Nov 28 and welcomed all parties to participate.

Pen Sovann, president of the ob­scure National Sustaining Party, said his party would not participate in the elections because of the ex­tremely low chances of winning a seat. He alleged that Uk Phourik was sponsored by the government to participate in the elections.

“When they received the order to join the elections, they joined,” Pen Sovann said.

Uk Phourik acknowledged that his party has good relations with the ruling CPP and said that it has received money from the CPP in the past but declined to say how much, adding that the CPP hadn’t funded it since last year.

“The party is still independent,” he said. “I’m happy that the CPP stopped funding us.”

Acting Sam Rainsy Party Pres­ident Kong Korm welcomed the KDP’s entry into the election fray, boasting that he was confident it wouldn’t siphon votes away from the opposition.

“We don’t have any worries,” he said. “We trust our lawmakers and commune councilors.”

 

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