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Ex-lawmaker criticises SRP

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Mao Monyvann, a former Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian who represented Kampong Cham province, speaks to reporters yesterday in front of the National Assembly in Phnom Penh.

Former Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Mao Monyvann has blasted the SRP leadership one week after announcing his resignation from parliament, charging that a handful of opposition leaders have monopolised control of the party.

Mao Monyvann, formerly an SRP parliamentarian representing Kampong Cham province, stepped down from his post last week, citing “personal reasons” and a promise he said he had made to his supporters that he would leave his post if he failed to increase support for the party in other provinces.

At a press conference held yesterday morning in front of the National Assembly, Mao Monyvann told reporters that the families of lawmakers Yim Sovann and Eng Chhay Eang had taken an excessive amount of control of the party in the absence of SRP president Sam Rainsy, who fled the Kingdom in 2009 to avoid a court case against him and remains in self-exile.

“Sam Rainsy has national ideals and bravery, but this cannot liberate him from the power of these two families,” Mao Monyvann said. “Do we have any hope at all if Sam Rainsy cannot liberate himself from the grasp of these two families?”

Yim Sovann’s wife, Ke Sovannaroth, is also an SRP lawmaker and serves as secretary general of the party. Eng Chhay Eang’s brother-in-law, Kuoy Bunroeun, is currently a lawmaker representing Takeo province who is set to replace Mao Monyvann in Kampong Cham as part of a parliamentary reshuffle announced earlier this year by the SRP.

Mao Monyvann was set to move to Takeo as part of the reshuffle, which was originally supposed to go into effect on Thursday but has since been postponed indefinitely. Mao Monyvann rebuked the party for this postponement, calling on it not to “return the words to its tongue”.

Mao Monyvann strongly denied having plans to defect to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party or any other party, though he said he preferred the leadership of the opposition Human Rights Party to that of the SRP.
Yim Sovann denied yesterday that his family wielded inordinate control over the party.

“In the SRP, a few individuals cannot do whatever they want,” he said. “There are millions of supporters – a few people cannot do whatever they want without a collective decision.”

Yim Sovann added that Mao Monyvann was within his rights to raise complaints, but that the SRP was confident in its strategy to take on the ruling party.

“It is normal that every decision will not make everyone happy,” he said.

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