Cambodian dissidents announce government-in-exile plans

Cambodian dissidents announce government-in-exile plansKhmer National Liberation Front says will join with others to oppose Hun Sen administration

By Lauren Crothers

A group of Cambodian dissidents is planning to establish a government-in-exile to oppose what it claims is the country’s pro-Vietnam regime, local media reported Monday.

The Khmer National Liberation Front, known as the KNLF, announced it would be forming the Cambodian National Constitutional Congress to “discuss, agree and adopt a new constitution as the basis for establishing a Cambodian government-in-exile as soon as practicable.”

But Cambodia’s main opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party, denied Monday having anything to do with the scheme.

In a telephone interview, spokesman Yim Sovann told The Anadolu Agency: “It is not relevant to the CNRP, it’s nothing to do with the CNRP. It is a false statement… It is irrelevant.”

In an emailed statement at the weekend, KNLF President Sam Serey, who lives in exile in Denmark, announced joining forces with the main opposition and other activist groups.

He said Cambodia was continuing to “suffer under communist dictator Hun Sen and the colonisation of Vietnam, with ongoing freedom and human rights violations, murder, imprisonment, forced evictions and land grabbing, and human trafficking.”

He said the new congress would be formally set up on Friday.

“Some of them are delegates outside the country and some delegates inside the country are involved,” Serey was quoted in the Phnom Penh Post.

The KNLF, established in 2012, considers Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government to be a puppet of Vietnam and describes it as a “neo-colony and dictatorship regime.”

Sen has branded the KNLF a terrorist organization. The Post quoted government spokesman Phay Siphan as saying that anyone violating the existing constitution would be “subject to the law.”

Ten alleged KNLF members are currently facing charges of treason, the Post reported.

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