Opposition Parties: ‘Too Late’ To Form Coalition with SRP for 2008

The Norodom Ranariddh Party and the Human Rights Party said Friday that the chance to form an anti-CPP alliance with opposition leader Sam Rainsy for the July national elections has now all but expired.

Though adamantly stating for months that he would not join with the NRP or the HRP, Sam Rainsy said on May 2 that he was now keen on a coalition of the three parties.

Elaborating on his political back flip, Sam Rainsy said that forming such a coalition ahead of the July elections would require agreeing on a way to put the parties’ differences aside.

“We are thinking of one formula for all parties that have similar stances in order to get a victory over the CPP,” Sam Rainsy said by telephone.

“For some issues, we keep them aside and think of the future,” he said.

To be viable, he continued, any coalition would require its partners to avoid the fractiousness of the past.

“There have to be guarantees that the coalition would be respected,” Sam Rainsy said, though he admitted that it was unclear if such a coalition could be formed by the May 12 deadline to submit lists of candidates for the election.

“I am trying to find a formula,” he added.

HRP President Kem Sokha said that a coalition was a welcome idea however it would have to wait for another election cycle as the HRP plans to submit its candidate lists to the National Election Committee on Monday.

“I don’t see that it’s possible,” said Kem Sokha, who described Sam Rainsy’s comments on a coalitions as political posturing.

“He isn’t serious. It’s just his political game,” Kem Sokha said.

NRP spokesman Muth Channtha said that the long process of forming an alliance should have started long ago.

“If he wanted unity, why didn’t he begin in October?” Muth Channtha said. “Why wait until the water is up to the nose?”

SRP Deputy Secretary-General Mu Sochua said that such an alliance was necessary for real political change in Cambodia.

“We must win the victory. We can worry about a rupture later. We must unite,” she said, though she also conceded that a coalition this year may be a technical impossibility.

CPP Deputy National Assembly President Nguon Nhel described Sam Rainsy as strutting in vain before his inevitable defeat in July.

It is “too late” for any such coalition, Nguon Nhel said.

“His internal problems are collapsing and majorities have defected to the Cambodian People’s Party,” he said.

“It’s a hard thing to do to compete before his defeat,” he said.


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