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Recent opposition merger tops agenda

120723_04
Human Rights Party President Kem Sokha (centre) greets party members yesterday in Phnom Penh. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post

Human Rights Party President Kem Sokha (centre) greets party members yesterday in Phnom Penh. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post

The opposition Sam Rainsy Party and Human Rights Party will stick around until 2017, despite their leaders announcing that they will form a new political party this year, politicos said yesterday.

Speaking after the second congress of the Human Rights Party held in Phnom Penh and attended by about 2,000 members yesterday, spokesman Pol Horm said two working groups had been formed to examine how best to initiate members and candidates into the slated Cambodia Democratic Movement of National Rescue.

“When we form the new party, the main objective is to present our candidates under this new name. Mostly, the candidates are coming from SRP and HRP, and most of them are already in the National Assembly, and cannot leave to join the new party [or they] will lose their seats,” Horm said.

“This will also be a problem at the commune level – [elected members] cannot leave the party [they were elected under] because they will lose their seats.”

The congress was also attended by high-ranking leaders within the Sam Rainsy Party, including the planned secretary-general of the new National Rescue party, Mu Sochua, and current SRP spokesman Yim Sovann.

“The SRP and HRP will stay registered for six years until the term of the next Senate mandate and also the termination of the current commune councillor mandate in 2017,” Sovann said.

He added that as well as working out legal technicalities, the working groups would finalise the name of the party and the new party logo some time next week.

The two opposition parties are putting a heavy emphasis on differentiating the new party from the SRP and HRP.

“This new movement is the main door for other democratic politicians who wish to join a new movement but not to come through the HRP or the SRP,” Horm stressed.

“We welcome all politicians, even those ones [who] maybe do not like the HRP and the SRP, and this is the best way to come to move forward with us.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Bridget Di Certo at bridget.dicerto@phnompenhpost.com

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