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AKD officially launched to contest in elections

Ry Sochan / Khmer Times Share:
AKD president Mam Sonando (C) speaks at the press conference to announce the launch of the Alliance of Khmer Democrats in Phnom Penh yesterday. KT/Tep Sony

The Alliance of Khmer Democrats (AKD) established by three minor political parties was officially launched yesterday to contest in elections in a bid to establish more checks and balances but it will not challenge the ruling party.

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The three political parties include Mam Sonando’s Beehive Social Democratic Party (BSDP), Nhek Bun Chhay’s Khmer National United Party (KNUP), and Khmer United Party (KUP) led by Kem Rithisith who is a younger brother of the slain prominent social analyst Kem Ley.

The three parties won no seats in the 2018 general elections.

The newly formed alliance aims to inspire a new nationalism model so that youths can follow it without applying a culture of falsely accusing each other and taking revenge on one another.

The AKD’s political platform states that it will request to have the new Article 82 of the Constitution amended from the absolute majority of 50 percent plus one to a two-thirds formula in the National Assembly to prevent a centralised power.

In a press conference yesterday, AKD president Sonando said the alliance will compete for parliamentary seats, but will not challenge for the premiership.

“We want all the political parties to gain seats in the National Assembly to unite and build the nation,” he said.

Responding to critics saying the AKD would be shortlived, Sonando said: “We will not break away from each other because we are committed to working together. Despite different political parties, we want our country to have peace forever.”

AKD vice-president Bun Chhay said everyone should work together to improve the people’s living conditions.

Mam Sonando (C), Alliance of Khmer Democrats president with vice-president Nhek Bun Chhay (L) and Kem Rithisith (R), a member, announces the launch of the alliance during a press conference at Himawari Hotel Apartments yesterday. KT/Tep Sony

“We want to maintain and protect peace. We all will make efforts to keep political stability so that we will have opportunities to develop our country,” he said.

“We will gradually restore the return to the implementation of the Paris Peace Accords, multiparty democracy, human rights, and people’s freedom,” Bun Chhay said.

Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman Sok Eysan said yesterday it is the right of the three political parties to create the AKD.

“We cannot predict the result [voters’ support] of the alliance because we have to wait for the election. Then we can evaluate its popularity or support,” he said.

Cambodian Institute for Democracy president Pa Chanroeun told Khmer Times yesterday the AKD is just a political movement, noting that it was normal in a democratic society in which political parties band together to form an alliance if they expect to gain seats in the commune election or general election.

“The ambition to have the Constitution’s new Article 82 amended or to make any remarkable change seems unclear for the alliance. It depends on its capabilities from now on until the elections,” he said.

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