Cambodia Opposition Fractures as Bickering Breaks Into the Open

Kem Sokha has accused his longtime partner Sam Rainsy of using his name and image for personal political gain.

Cambodia’s besieged political opposition is reeling after a latent disagreement between the country’s two most prominent opposition politicians broke out into apparent open acrimony over the weekend.

The first sign of a major rift took place on Sunday, when Kem Sokha, the former president of the banned Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), posted a Khmer-language message on his Facebook page to announce he would no longer be associating with Sam Rainsy, his long-time partner and predecessor as leader of the CNRP.

In his post, Sokha accused Rainsy and his supporters of using Sokha’s name and image to promote their political activities, including the recent revival of Rainsy’s Candlelight Party, which held a congress on Saturday. It also claimed that Rainsy had “walked away from the original principles and spirit of unity” that undergirded the creation of the CNRP, which was established in 2012 via a merger of Sokha’s Human Rights Party and Rainsy’s eponymous party.

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