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CPP Allies with 27 Political Parties to Rid Cambodia of “Extremist Politics”

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia touted its achievements in democracy during the July elections, often citing the participation of 18 parties on the ballot. Earlier this month, 13 of those parties officially joined with the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) to form an alliance in response to the announcement of four opposition parties joining together. On the morning of October 25, the Cambodian People's Party (CPP) continued to consolidate power, signing an alliance with 27 total political parties under the chairmanship of CPP President, former Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Hun Sen said he had initially received requests from only 18 parties to form an alliance with the CPP, but that the number had risen to 27. Little to no detail was given on the additional parties and only 18 parties in total appeared on July’s ballot. Four parties, including the opposition Candlelight Party, formed their own alliance on October 11 to challenge the CPP’s dominance by forming the “Alliance for the Future.”

It is not clear where royalist party FUNCINPEC stands in the emerging alliances, as the only other party to hold seats in Cambodia’s National Assembly. It holds five seats while the CPP holds the remaining 120.

According to the CPP President, the alliance of 28 political parties is meant to strengthen national unity and to mobilize patriotic forces to maintain peace and political stability to ensure the country's long-term development.

The 28 parties have agreed on eight key points which are vaguely worded and open to interpretation. These include eliminating extremist politics from Cambodia, strengthening cooperation, pledging to uphold the Constitution, safeguarding Cambodia’s independence and arranging elections in accordance with the principles of multi-party liberal democracy-a principle which some say was violated in July’s election where the CPP won a landslide victory and only one other party of the 18 managed to gain seats in the National Assembly. Previously the CPP had held all 125 seats following the dissolution of the major opposition party ahead of the 2018 election.

Hun Sen said that the alliance will build a culture of dialogue and strengthen democracy in Cambodia.

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