Tentative steps by the political opposition to unite ahead of July’s national election seeped to fall apart last year, but the owner of Beehive Radio FM 105 has taken it upon himself to resuscitate that process.
Mam Sonando, whose radio station broadcasts programs by the SRP, the Norodom Ranariddh Party and the Human Rights Party, has initiated his own program geared at getting those three parties to join forces to take on the ruling CPP at the polls.
The program is meant to serve as a referendum where the public can voice their support or disapproval of a union between the parties, Mam Sonando said Tuesday.
“So far we have received word from 1,450 listeners who support the idea that the three political parties should merge together to form a strong opposition party to balance the power of the CPP,” he said, adding that only three listeners have voiced disapproval of the idea since the program began Jan 17.
Once the referendum ends Feb 17, representatives of the three parties will be asked to participate in an on-air roundtable discussion, where they will answer questions from listeners about a potential merger.
“This is my assistance to let political parties be aware of the voters’ wishes,” Mam Sonando said.
NRP spokesman Muth Channtha said that his party is willing to unite without conditions, letting an internal election decide the leadership of the resulting party. Representatives from the other two parties, however, continued to put forward stances that make a union seem unlikely.
HRP President Kem Sokha expressed a willingness to join forces with the SRP, but said that his party was wary of creating a union with the Norodom Ranariddh Party because many HRP supporters consider Prince Ranariddh to have a bad reputation.
But the main union obstacle remains the SRP.
“It is useless to talk with other political parties,” SRP Secretary-General Eng Chhay Eang said Tuesday.
“We have different political ideas,” he said. “We won’t waste our strength and time.”