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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Opposition merger now in SRP’s court, HRP president says

Opposition merger now in SRP’s court, HRP president says

THE Human Rights Party has announced it is ready to join forces with the Sam Rainsy Party as soon as its prospective partner makes the decision to go ahead with the long-anticipated merger.

At a press conference Tuesday, HRP President Kem Sokha said the party was ready to join with the SRP in a single opposition front, and that people inside and outside the two parties want to see a united democratic movement.

“People have asked whether democrats can merge into a single party,” Kem Sokha said.

“The answer that has been given to us is that if democrats do not merge into one party, the result will be defeat.”

However, Kem Sokha said the party was maintaining three conditions for the merger, including a term limit for the party president, a change in the new party’s name and joint decision-making between officials from the two sides.

He acknowledged that the SRP and HRP have met eight times already to discuss the merger, with no result, and said that if the SRP leadership is unhappy with the terms, it should come to discuss them.

The SRP’s deputy secretary general, Mu Sochua, said Tuesday that she met with an HRP representative on Monday to speak about the merger, adding that the three conditions set by Kem Sokha were acceptable to the party leadership.

“We have not changed our will because we have made these announcements to the public already,” she said, adding that both parties had been too busy to consider the merger in recent months. “Our stance is the same – we do not dispute these” points.

She added: “We do not reject the change of the party’s name.… The new party must change its name, but we just will change it when we have the time,” she said.

Cheam Yeap, a senior lawmaker from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, expressed his congratulations over the merger plans but said the CPP was not scared of the threat posed by a unified democratic front.

“They cannot merge forever. They will have conflict together and be separated … because Kem Sokha has different ideals from Sam Rainsy,” Cheam Yeap said.

“Even if they merge, they can’t win against us because we have served the people for so long.”

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