The Candlelight Party (CP) has decided to appoint veteran politician Kong Korm as its “supreme adviser” after a meeting between CP and Khmer Will Party (KWP) senior leaders.
The KWP on October 3 issued a statement saying that it would not field any of its own candidates in the parliamentary election of 2023 because they have decided to merge with the CP and support its slate in that election, a move that CP accepted and endorsed on October 4.
CP, currently the country’s second-largest party, welcomed Kong Korm, the founder of the now-defunct Khmer Nation Party and also former president of the them Sam Rainsy Party, which was the predecessor organisation of the CP.
The CP called on all patriots who love democracy to join them and put together a large enough force for democracy to be able to win the general election in 2023, which is scheduled to take place on July 23.
CP vice-president Thach Setha told The Post that his party appointed Korm as an adviser to unite all lovers of democracy, saying that although Korm had not officially joined the CP, he has shown the true spirit of patriotism with his actions.
He added that because Korm was formerly a party founder and president in the past, the CP wanted to offer him an official role for their efforts in the next election to show gratitude to him for everything he has done over the years to help the nation.
“This offer is important so that people will clearly see that we still maintain a strong position . . . Kong Korm has seen the leadership of the CP is acting transparently and is on the right track,” he said.
Long-time politician Korm told The Post on October 4 that the role of adviser was not new to him because he used to hold the position as a senior adviser to the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).
He added that as an adviser, he would suggest to the CP that they avoid going too soft towards the west.
He further said that if he could he would also advise the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) not to go too soft towards China either, because maintaining the Kingdom’s independence and neutrality was in the best interests of the nation and the people to maintain peace, stability and development.
“As a senior adviser, the first helpful advice I have for the CP is to form a panel of the party leaders and the budget and finances team along with a legislation panel, a land dispute resolution panel and a human rights panel, and use all of these to input ideas to the campaign that can be put into practice according to the goals of our nation and our people,” he said.
Sok Eysan, spokesman for the CPP, said on October 4 that these mergers and appointments did not really worry the CPP. Although many smaller parties from the former CNRP might decide to merge together, in truth the CPP still had nothing to worry about.
He added that the CPP did not oppose the merger or the establishment of new parties from the CNRP as long as the law permitted it, because it is within their rights to engage in politics.
“It is very ridiculous that a former party leader [Kong Korm]... falls to his knees and hugs the legs of the torch and kisses the feet of the candle. It is very ridiculous. As it is said, one loser plus another loser is still just a loser and they will still get defeated. It isn’t anything to wonder about,” he added.