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Cambodian Opposition Leaders Visit VOA

VOA Khmer Service interviews Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy (center) and Kem Sokha (right).
VOA Khmer Service interviews Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy (center) and Kem Sokha (right).
Cambodian opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha discussed the merger of their two parties during an interview Wednesday at Voice of America headquarters in Washington.

Rainsey told VOA Khmer Service reporter Pov Sok, “We will present a political platform that will take the best portions from the Sam Rainsy Party [and] the Human Rights Party’s platform, so as to make a platform that will give hope to the Cambodian people.”

The newly formed Cambodian National Salvation Party is hoping to defeat Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party in elections scheduled for July of next year.

Human Rights Party leader Kem Sokha said the new opposition structure will help give people confidence. “Experience clearly shows that we are all victims of dictators, so if we split apart, the ruling party leaders will increasingly persecute us,” he said.

In a separate interview on Thursday, Rainsy emphasized the party’s desire to find solutions to unemployment, inflation, poor health, and other problems plaguing Cambodia.

Voice of America’s Khmer Service provides nationwide coverage of the political situation in Cambodia, and will closely follow the election campaign.

“The Cambodian domestic media doesn’t provide much coverage of the actions of the opposition parties,” says Khmer Service Chief Chris Decherd.

Rainsy said the opposition leaders came to Voice of America because they believe it’s an institution where, “we (Cambodians) receive information that we know is reliable and objective.” He added, “VOA provides us with oxygen for the spirit.”