HRP To Choose Candidate for Prime Minister

More than 1,000 Human Rights Party members will attend a special congress Wednesday to choose the party’s prime ministerial candidate for the July 2008 na­tional election, HRP President Kem Sokha said Monday.

Kem Sokha said that he and Son Soubert, chairman of the HRP board of directors, would be the on­ly candidates competing for the nomination, though he added that there was no limitation on how many HRP members could stand as candidates.

Kem Sokha also said that he would most likely win Wednes­day’s nomination as Son Soubert, who is also a member of the Con­stitutional Council, had already ex­pressed his support for him to be the HRP’s prime minister

candidate.

Two hundred HRP national council members, who represent the party at provincial level, will vote, he said, adding that he believes his popularity had already surpassed that of Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Sam Rainsy.

“My main competitor is Prime Min­ister Hun Sen,” Kem Sokha said, adding that he expected the HRP to beat the CPP in the election. The CPP, he claimed, is in the pocket of business interests, both local and foreign, and is thus un­able to implement necessary re­forms for the country.

“I do not owe anybody anything, so I can protect the country,” Kem Sokha added.

SRP Secretary-General Eng Chhay Eang said his party was not concerned about the HRP or its candidate for prime minister.

“There are only two parties who will be competing in the election and they are the SRP and the CPP,” Eng Chhay Eang said.

The CPP’s acceptance of defectors from the SRP demonstrated that Hun Sen’s ruling party recognized such a fact also.

Government spokesman and Information Minister Khieu Kan­harith scoffed at Kem Sokha’s aspirations to be prime minister, ad­ding that he was unable to control his staff when he was previously dir­ector for the Cambodian Center for Human Rights.

“I would like to see him be Prime Minister. I would like to see his style if he could not even control a handful of staff,” Khieu Kanharith said.

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