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New Cambodian democracy organization claims it has the potential to ‘legitimize’ Hun Manet, according to Radio Free Asia

A U.S.-based Cambodian pro-democracy group is ready to collaborate with Prime Minister Hun Manet to initiate reforms in the country to “legitimize” his rule, as stated by its leader on Thursday.

Mu Sochua, the exiled former deputy opposition leader, introduced the Khmer Movement for Democracy in September with the objective of reforming Cambodia’s corrupt judiciary, reinstating fair elections, and training a new generation of political leaders.

During a meeting in Washington, D.C. with officials from the National Endowment for Democracy and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mu Sochua acknowledged that Hun Manet may not permit the group to operate openly in Cambodia.

Despite facing potential arrest and an eight-year prison sentence upon her return to Cambodia, Mu Sochua expressed hope that her group would eventually be allowed to operate openly and stressed that its aim is not to overthrow Hun Manet or the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).

She emphasized the importance of reforming the justice system through dialogue and collaboration with the people, in order to enhance Hun Manet’s legitimacy as the prime minister.

Mu Sochua highlighted the opportunity for Hun Manet to establish his own identity by implementing substantial reforms, rather than relying solely on his father’s legacy for support.

The potential for a generational shift in leadership was also discussed, as Mu Sochua and other opposition leaders are ageing, emphasizing the need for a new generation of leaders to emerge in Cambodia.

The success of the Khmer Movement for Democracy will be measured by its ability to empower individuals to engage in politics and eventually take over leadership roles currently held by older opposition figures.

Despite facing challenges in operating openly in Cambodia, the group plans to conduct training programs through a combination of face-to-face interactions and online platforms like podcasts and social media.

Edited by Malcolm Foster.

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