Human Rights Party Plans Congress Following Official Recognition

The Interior Ministry has formally registered Kem Sokha’s Human Rights Party, which now plans to spend $90,000 on its first party congress at Phnom Penh’s Olympic Stadium, officials said Tuesday.

Interior Minister Sar Kheng an­nounced the party’s registration in a Monday statement and order­ed all authorities to comply with the decision.

“The party can go ahead with its political activities,” Lay Voharith, director of the ministry’s political affairs department, said Tuesday.

Kem Sokha said that his party will now hold its national congress at the stadium on July 22, and that some 20,000 people will be invited. The party will splash out a grand total of $90,000 on t-shirts, hats and transport for participants, he added.

The party will also use separate funds to produce 40,000 promotional stickers and 2,000 party signs to be put up around the country.

Kem Sokha said his party’s funds come from Cambodians living in the US and Canada, and that he plans to raise more funds from a European promotional tour for which he was due to leave on Tuesday evening.

SRP Secretary-General Mu So­chua said her party is considering inviting the Human Rights Party to join forces and compete against the ruling CPP ahead of the 2008 national election.

“The SRP is opening the door to work with other political parties. There should only be two parties for an election: a democratic party and the CPP,” Mu Sochua said.

She also said that if “democratic” parties are divided, the opposition vote will be divided.

Kem Sokha said he would welcome any democratic party to work with the Human Rights Party. But he said he does not want to compete on a joint ticket in an election.

“I work for democracy. I don’t work for myself,” he said. “I want to reform and give the power to the people.”

 

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