The president of the Khmer National Liberation Front (KNLF)—a government-branded terrorist group—says he is planning to form a government in exile this month in Denmark.
Sam Serey, the KNLF’s Denmark-based leader, said the group will use the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Paris Peace Agreements on October 23, 1991 to mark the formation of a new Cambodian government.
The plans were met with derision from the government and others, who scoffed at the hubris of Mr. Serey, who was convicted along with 12 associates—six in absentia—in 2014 for plotting to overthrow the government.
“Who died and made him king?” asked Sophal Ear, a political analyst and author of “Aid Dependence in Cambodia: How Foreign Assistance Undermines Democracy.”
In an email on Wednesday, Mr. Serey said a new government was needed because Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government was overseeing human rights abuses, forced evictions and illegitimate elections.
He said the group’s main action would be to demand that the U.N. strip Cambodia of its General Assembly seat, claiming that “36 countries who have recently expressed their concerns about human rights violation will stand with us.”
The exile government’s legitimacy stemmed from its pledge to “work peacefully” with the U.N. and respect international law, as well as from the support of the Cambodian diaspora and five opposition parties, “including CNRP leader Sam Rainsy,” Mr. Serey said.
“This is not true,” Mr. Rainsy, who is living in self-imposed exile, wrote in an email on Wednesday.
Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said the government was not concerned by the planned government, which has “no power to strip Cambodia of its legitimacy.”
Mr. Ear, the analyst, wrote in an email that the plan had the potential to do real harm as it threatened activists and opposition figures in Cambodia. “You just need an address book and it will be guilt by association, which, of course, is never beyond a reasonable doubt in Cambodia,” he said.