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Khmer Will Party announces merger with Candlelight

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KWP president Kong Monika speaking in a press conference on July 11. Hong Menea

Khmer Will Party announces merger with Candlelight

The Khmer Will Party (KWP) has announced that it will merge with Candlelight (CP), currently the country’s second-largest party, following a series of talks.

In an October 3 press statement, KWP called on all democrats and Cambodians who desire positive change through elections to support CP more widely and vigorously to “maintain Cambodia's status as a true liberal multi-party democracy” in accordance with the “spirit of the Paris Peace Agreements” and the Constitution.

KWP president Kong Monika could not be reached for comment on October 3, but he has said previously that the proposed political alliance initiated by the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) that would unite several parties in the run-up to the 2023 national election was an overly-complicated plan.

He noted that while he supported the initiative, the KWP’s intention was to simply join with CP as it was easier than forming new parties or making “complex” multi-party agreements.

CP vice-president Son Chhay said he welcomes all other political parties with the same tendencies and beliefs to join his party and compete in the upcoming general election scheduled for July 23 next year.

Chhay, formerly a senior lawmaker from the now-defunct Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), said that if a new party or political alliance was formed for 2023, there would be many stages of negotiations and complicated procedural hurdles which would take a long time to overcome.

He added that he based his views on his experience from past negotiations between the former Human Rights Party founded by Kem Sokha, who currently stands trial on treason charge, and the former Sam Rainsy Party founded by Sam Rainsy, who has been convicted on a slew of charges including treason, to form the CNRP, only to be dissolved by the Supreme Court years later.

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