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HRP president adamant the party will boycott NA

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Kem Sokha tells reporters the international community is hoping opposition parties get greater government role

Tracey Shelton

Opposition leader Kem Sokha at a press conference Sunday following his return from Europe.

HUMAN Rights Party  President Kem Sokha reaffirmed his intention to boycott the National Assembly meeting scheduled for  September 24, telling reporters  Sunday that his recent meetings with European officials reinforced the need to resolve alleged election irregularities in the July polls.

Kem Sokha was joined on his trip by opposition leader Sam Rainsy.

"Our trip was very important for showing the necessity of fair elections and to prove that the problems we face are not small," he said.

He said the trip included meetings with France's secretary of state for foreign affairs as well as several French parliamentarians.

He also spoke with European Union parliamentarians in Brussels, Belgium, and with officials at the European Commission.

"They told us they would like to see more opposition parties in positions of authority in Cambodia," he said. "Without a greater balance of power, a true democratic process will be impossible."

Kem Sokha reiterated the party's intention to boycott the National Assembly meeting but said the HRP would follow the guidance of the King.

"We want the King to give us a separate time to be sworn in," he said.

"If not, then we will boycott."

Cambodian People's Party lawmaker Cheam Yeap said Sunday the king will convene the National Assembly as planned.

"We have 90 seats, Funcinpec has two and Norodom Ranariddh has two," he said.

"So we can convene the meeting whether the opposition parties join or not."

He said that even though Cambodian law requires at least 120 parliamentarians in attendance for the National Assembly to convene, it will take place even without the opposition parties if the King convenes it.

Cheam Yeap dismissed the comments by Kem Sokha by saying foreign officials could not know the details of Cambodia's elections and should not listen to only one side.

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