CNRP President Sam Rainsy continued the opposition party’s attack on political commentator Kem Ley’s “Khmer for Khmer” reform group Wednesday, telling supporters that the group is a creation of the ruling CPP.
Mr. Ley has said that his group plans to help villagers create some 25 small commune-based parties early this year to take part in elections and strengthen democracy. Speaking to supporters in Kompong Speu province’s Baset district, Mr. Rainsy said the plan would benefit only the CPP.
“A win over the CPP will come only if the democrats and patriots are well united,” Mr. Rainsy said. “It’s been 30 years that we have not defeated the CPP, because we have been split and have had many political parties.”
Mr. Rainsy noted that Funcinpec, the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party had long split the anti-CPP vote, allowing it to sweep national elections.
However, the CPP has faced a serious threat to its dominance since the SRP and HRP merged to become the CNRP in 2012.
“Now our forces are united into one party, so it means there is one political party against one. Now the CPP is pretty well aware that the patriots are united, so the CPP will lose,” the opposition leader said.
“But they don’t want to be defeated, so what will they do? Their tactic is to create small parties to split the vote of the CNRP,” Mr. Rainsy said. “These small parties are pretty well aware that they won’t win [any assembly seats] but will split our votes, and so help the CPP.”
Mr. Ley denied that the CPP has had any role in creating or supporting his group.
“No, we just use our own resources and our own contributions. We are open for any independent auditing firm or any group to investigate us. We are open. We are moving in a transparent and accountable way,” he said.
“This is not the first time, and it’s not only him—his group always blames people without evidence-based information. But I work for my country, not for anyone.”
(Additional reporting by Alex Willemyns)