kompong cham town – Outspoken dissident Sam Rainsy said Saturday that he would use his new offices in Kompong Cham as a launch pad to win seats in the National Assembly.
“We will use this place as our first [provincial] place to challenge for votes,” Sam Rainsy told about 400 party members who attended the opening of two provincial offices here.
The Sam Rainsy Party, formerly the Khmer Nation Party, is focusing on a province where party workers say the former finance minister has a large following.
But it also is an area where party members have been intimidated, according to human rights investigators. In early December, a party member was shot and killed, allegedly by men wearing soldiers’ uniforms.
In his speech Saturday, Sam Rainsy pledged to fight corruption and authoritarianism. He lashed out at Second Prime Minister Hun Sen, saying he would rather support Khmer Rouge nominal leader Khieu Samphan than Hun Sen.
“Hun Sen, Khmer Rouge, destroys the nation,” Rainsy said, a reference to Hun Sen’s affiliation with the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s and to the political killings since the factional fighting in July. “I support Khieu Samphan because he loves the people.”
Rainsy also criticized Hun Sen’s brother, Kompong Cham Governor Hun Neng, and advised his party members to accept gifts from CPP officials, but not to cast votes for the CPP.
“Let’s accept everything from them, but they can’t buy ballots from us,” he said. “I don’t regard the Cambodian People’s Party as an adversary, but we have to fight corruption and dictatorship.”
Kreng Mengly of Kompong Siem district said he likes Sam Rainsy because he is a nationalist.
“I don’t see any good leaders in the current government except Mr Rainsy,” Mengly said. “But if he wins the election and changes his mind about nationalism, I will be in despair and have no belief in any leaders.”