SRP President Sam Rainsy and Human Rights Party President Kem Sokha on Thursday signed an agreement officially forming a political alliance between the two parties in an effort to take on the ruling-CPP in future elections, according to a joint statement.
The alliance, called “Political Democratic Movement for Change,” will allow the two parties—which currently hold a combined 29 seats in the 123-member National Assembly—to have a single list of candidates for 2012 commune election and 2013 national election, the statement said.
“We would like to inform the national and international community about the national unity through this massive movement that the SRP and HRP has decided to establish,” Sam Rainsy said Thursday at a news conference. Kem Sokha, also speaking at the news conference, called the alliance “historical.”
“Now it is time for us to mobilize the real democrats and nationalists to lead, to make changes in our society, to make better economic development and real democratic progress,” he said.
Kem Sokha said that no agreements regarding power sharing had been made as of yet, but both party leaders said that the new alliance will not be fragile like the two previous “alliance of democrats” between the SRP and Funcinpec in 1998 and 2003.
Following the 1998 poll, the two parties banded together to seek concessions from the CPP, which won the election but did not secure enough seats to form a government. Funcinpec eventually abandoned the alliance to join with the CPP in government. Yet another alliance was born after the 2003 election and held together for nearly a year before Funcinpec once again joined the CPP in government.
Koul Panha, executive director of election NGO Comfrel, said that the alliance should generate more seats for the two parties in the upcoming elections.
“This will be a new alternative for voters,” he said, adding that if the two parties had merged earlier, they would have received more National Assembly seats in July’s national election.