Ex-SRP Lawmaker To Assemble New Party

Renegade opposition lawmaker Khem Veasna said Monday that he will form a new party to compete in forthcoming commune and national elections.

The League Party for Democracy will follow democratic principles by allowing members to elect the par­ty’s leadership, rather than supporters simply putting the party in pow­er, he said.

He said the formation of the party was not a ploy to hold on to his seat in parliament, which is being chal­leng­ed by his former Sam Rainsy Party colleagues, and added that his par­ty will be funded from his own poc­kets and supporters’ contributions.

An internal National Assembly rule mandates that lawmakers who lose their party affiliation effectively lose their seats, but Khem Veasna has remained a parliamentarian despite outcry from the opposition.

The opposition disowned Khem Veasna after controversy generated when he made critical remarks about monarchies.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said he was strongly critical of the decision to let Khem Veasna hold onto his seat.

“When lawmakers from other parties broke away from their parties, they had to leave parliament, such as myself in 1995,” he said in reference to his departure from Funcinpec.

He also blasted the dozens of smaller offshoot parties that appear around elections and disappear after­ward.

“I would say at best they are ma­nipulated by the CPP and at worst they are just a creation of the ruling party,” he said by telephone from Paris.

“It is their right to form a political party,” said Committee for Free and Fair Elections Director Koul Panha.

“There is no evidence to prove that small parties take votes from one particular party, or that a big party has them created,” he added.


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