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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Opposition party members sworn into National Assembly

Opposition party members sworn into National Assembly

The ceremony, presided over by the King, brings to an end speculation that an HRP boycott would leave them out of parliament

THREE Human Rights Party lawmakers joined 17 members of the Cambodian People's Party at a swearing-in ceremony at the Royal Palace, presided over by King Norodom Sihamoni and two chief monks.

The HRP members included party President Kem Sokha, Yem Ponhearith and Ou Chanrith. A fourth, Tioulong Saumura of the Sam Rainsy Party, was expected to be sworn in but chose not to attend.

Yem Ponhearith, spokesman and secretary general of the HRP, told the Post Thursday that the party's parliamentarians were required to be sworn in with CPP members to get valid positions in the National Assembly.

"We had previously stated that we wanted to be sworn in at a time and place suitable for us. We achieved that," he said.

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said his party's  members at the swearing-in were selected because they were former assembly members from previous mandates or had been named to replace seats of CPP officials vacated in advance of the new government.

Cheam Yeap said he could not say why Tioulong Saumura did not attend the ceremony but said she could be sworn in alone at a future event.

He said it could be difficult to arrange because it would need the participation of the King.

Mu Sochua, deputy secretary general of the SRP, said Tioulong Saumura missed the event because of a busy schedule abroad.

"She did not boycott the swearing-in but was attending a meeting in Manila. She told officials of her trip before departing and expects to be sworn in when she returns," Mu Sochua said.

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