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SRP activists oppose parliamentary 'swap'

Officials from the opposition Sam Rainsy Party in Kampong Cham province have rejected a party plan to rotate parliamentarians with party officials who stood as candidates in the 2008 election.

Hak Panha, a party activist in Tbong Khmum district’s Suong commune, said he was disappointed that Mao Monyvann, an SRP lawmaker for the province, would be asked to step aside, adding that it could impact the party’s popularity.

“Mao Monyvann has ability. His action has much effectiveness,” he said. “The Cambodian People’s Party is very afraid of Mao Monyvann.”

The plan was first announced last month as a means of bolstering the party’s chances at the 2013 national election.

Hak Panha also said grassroots supporters wanted to see the SRP enact longstanding plans to merge with the Human Rights Party, saying it could help the opposition compete with the CPP in upcoming polls.

“If the parties will not merge, I will make the grassroots merge,” he said.

Por Sitha, an activist in Rokap Pram commune, said he has removed the SRP banner from his house in protest against the removal of Mao Monyvann.

“I agree to have changes so that we can be more progressive but the change must be in clear conformity to democracy, not decided by only a few persons,” Por Sitha said.

“In my commune, people are generally content to have a merger. The merging is a good way. If the [SRP and HRP] do not merge the vote will be divided,” he added.

SRP spokesman Yim Sovann defended the reshuffle yesterday, saying that the change of parliamentarians conformed to the decision of the party’s permanent committee and that the discontent was a result of “nostalgia”.

“It is the permanent committee’s decision. We have the law so everyone must respect this decision,” he said, adding that the change was vital to democratic systems.

Yim Sovann also said SRP leaders were committed to merging with the HRP, but added that any deal would have to be well thought-out.

“The top leaders want to have the merger 200 percent, but we merge for success. We do not merge for melting,” he said.

Mao Monyvann declined to comment yesterday.

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