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New party launched in Cambodia possibly to weaken opposition force
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13:10, July 23, 2007

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The Human Rights Party (HRP) of some 10,000 supporters was launched here on Sunday, possibly with an eye to weaken the kingdom's opposition force, local media said on Monday.

Kem Sokha, 54, who was unanimously appointed the president of the party, said that HRP was formed in response to the needs of both local and overseas nationalists and democrats who want a political party which prioritizes the interests of the nation, not individuals, reported major Cambodian-language daily newspaper the Koh Santepheap.

"It is time for Cambodia to have a real fully democratic political party which has emerged from the people," Sokha said, adding that HRP's door is still open for those who have real willingness to improve the nation under the umbrella of true democracy.

Sokha told the crowd that the HRP has also been established to upgrade the living standards of the people and turn Cambodia into a society which offers equal choices and opportunities for every citizen in seeking their future.

The party elected former Prime Minister Pen Sovann, who in 1980 headed the People's Republic of Kampuchea, as one of its deputy presidents, along with Keo Remy, a former Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) lawmaker and Keat Sokun, former financial officer of the now defunct Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party.

English-language newspaper the Cambodia Daily on Monday quoted National Assembly First Vice President Nguon Nhel as saying that HRP can benefit the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) by weakening the opposition vote.

After the latest local election held on April 1, the opposition SRP surpassed the co-ruling Funcinpec Party and became the second largest party of the kingdom. The augmentation of SRP is widely thought to constitute a kind of menace to CPP, although it is now dominant in the government and the legislative bodies.

Source: Xinhua

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