SRP President Sam Rainsy said Monday that he met with Cabinet Minister Sok An last week in a bid to halt alleged intimidation by CPP members against newly-elected SRP commune chiefs.
Sam Rainsy said that his meeting with Sok An on Thursday was in part to seek an end to threats and judicial proceedings against his commune officials.
Three newly-elected SRP commune chiefs or deputy chiefs have found themselves in legal trouble since the April 1 commune elections, and CPP officials have threatened to cut water and electricity supplies to communes now run by the SRP, he said.
“This is a routine contact to try to resolve immediate, short-term problems: to solve the violence and judicial cases affecting newly-elected SRP officials,” Sam Rainsy said.
He added that Sok An listened to his grievances, but did not make any promises.
“We must maintain the dialogue” with the ruling party, Sam Rainsy said. “Whether we want it or not, we have to work together.”
The meeting with Sok An came days after CPP Secretary-General Say Chhum refused to discuss similar issues with SRP Secretary-General Mu Sochua.
Norodom Ranariddh Party spokesman Muth Channtha reacted with surprise to Sam Rainsy’s meeting with Sok An, which he said was in direct conflict with the planned “Democratic Movement.”
“[Sam Rainsy] is playing a double standard,” Muth Channtha said by telephone. “He says that he wants to change the leadership of the country, that he wants to remove the CPP from power. That is completely different from wanting close cooperation.”
Sam Rainsy responded saying that he is not seeking an alliance with the CPP, only the ability to protect his supporters in the run-up to the 2008 national election.
CPP lawmaker Nguon Nhel said that Sam Rainsy’s meeting with Sok An was unnecessary because the CPP does not use violence as a political tactic.
Nguon Nhel also called on Sam Rainsy to reconsider his intention to unite several political parties—including the NRP—to take on the CPP in the 2008 national election. Such a movement would not be successful in defeating the CPP, he said.