Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said he will support Prince Sisowath Thomico in calling for the UN to monitor the 2007 commune elections.
The announcement is a victory of sorts for Prince Thomico, who announced his desire for UN oversight at a news conference Saturday. He is struggling to gain legitimacy for his newly formed Sangkum Cheat Niyum Front Party.
On Wednesday, Prince Thomico implied his party might forge stronger ties with the SRP in the lead up to the 2008 national elections.
“The democrats should support each other,” Thomico said. “If the elections are not transparent and just, there will be no democracy.”
Sam Rainsy said previous elections had been rife with irregularities, and that Prince Thomico’s idea is a good one
“We are close to elections and when the request is made by Prince Thomico, I will surely support it,” he said.
Sam Rainsy said that currently UN Development Program experts are working with the National Election Committee and international observers would come when the election nears.
UNDP spokesman Men Kimseng declined to comment on the proposal for UN oversight of the election.
Prince Thomico said that the SRP and SCNFP have also created a “permanent dialogue” between the parties that will be executed through each group’s secretary-general. It could be only the beginning.
“For [the 2008 national elections] I leave all options open,” the prince said. “If it means an alliance or a merger, we will do what is best for the country.”
Prince Thomico also said that he would cease pushing for Prince Norodom Ranariddh to dissolve Funcinpec, but chided the party for kowtowing to the ruling CPP.
He said he has requested a meeting with Prince Ranariddh, but has received no response.
Ok Socheat, Prince Ranariddh’s public affairs adviser, said that he had not yet informed Prince Ranariddh of Prince Thomico’s interest in speaking with him, adding that he might inform him today.
(Additional reporting by John Maloy)