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Royalists to join new opposition alliance

A day before the newly formed National Salvation Party’s (NSP) official registration, it got some good news – a handful of Norodom Ranariddh Party (NRP) members in Kampot province are adding their names to the new political force.

Chea Poch, lawmaker and president of the Sam Rainsy Party in Kampot province, told the Post yesterday that Mao Ratana, president of the NRP’s election staff in Kampot, has decided to join the new political alliance formed in mid-July between the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party.

Poch did not confirm any more specific names, claiming that it would affect their positions in the government. However, he promised to release the information in the middle of next month, and made additional claims, without citing specific officials, that members of other parties are interested in following Ratana’s lead.

“I would like to welcome members from any political party,” he said.

Several phone calls to Ratana attempting to confirm his decision yesterday were not returned. But a letter he reportedly sent last week to NSP leader Sam Rainsy praised the new party in effusive language.

“I understand that there is only the Democratic Movement for National Rescue [the previous name of the NSP] that can salvage the nation,” he said in the letter.

Sao Rany, the NRP official who edged out Prince Ranariddh to make room for a merger with the other royalist party, Funcinpec, said he’s not concerned about losing a member to the new party.

“It is not important [his resignation], because at the grassroots level, all members” support us, he said, adding that the NRP still has members in nine communes and eight districts in Kampot province.

Rany said that in the most recent commune elections in June, NRP won only one commune seat in Kampot province.

The meeting today to register the party will take place at the Ministry of Interior at 1 pm. Sam Rainsy, in self-exile abroad, is to address the members via internet video link.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meas Sokchea at sokchea.meas@phnompenhpost.com

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