The Son Sann Party, traditionally supported by Kampuchea Krom voters, will not be running in this year’s general election, party President Son Soubert said Sunday.
Son Soubert said he erased the party’s name from the Ministry of Interior’s list of political parties in 1999 because he wanted to cooperate with Funcinpec. “We don’t want to split [Funcinpec’s] voter support,” Son Soubert explained.
The party leader encouraged former supporters to cast their vote for another party: “Please, Kampuchea Krom people, find a party you like,” he said.
Son Soubert added that his party will become independent again, but he is unsure of when.
The party is the successor to the Khmer People’s National Liberation Front, a resistance movement founded in 1979 on the Thai border by Son Sann.
The former prime minister, who died in 2000, is the father of Son Soubert. Son Sann was born in Phnom Penh but his family was from Kampuchea Krom and he was long an advocate for the return of the area to Cambodia.
Kim Sambath, a Kampuchea Krom man, said on Sunday his support lies only with the Son Sann Party. “I won’t vote this year,” he said. “Other parties are not good.”
Kim Sambath added that he hopes the party will be re-established. “If the [Son Sann Party] is created again and the leader is as good as Son Sann, then I will vote for the party again,” he said.
The coordinator of the Khmer Krom for Human Rights and Development Association, Yont Tharo, said Sunday that he hopes Kampuchea Krom people will still use their votes, and support parties with the same principles as the Son Sann.
“I am very sorry that the Son Sann Party is not joining the election, but I will vote for a political party that has the same principles,” he said.
Yont Tharo said his association is encouraging Kampuchea Krom people to register and cast their votes. Due to a generally lower standard of living, few Kampuchea Krom people have the birth certificates required to register, he explained.