Friday, November 2, 2012

Cambodia's major opposition party elects new president

Xinhua | 2012-11-2
By Agencies

The Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), the country's main opposition party, on Friday elected its party's vice president Kong Korm as the party's new leader after self- exiled founder and president Sam Rainsy stepped down last month in order to lead the new Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP).

The election was made during the party congress, which was attended by some 2,000 members. Meanwhile, Sam Rainsy's wife Tioulong Saumura was elected as the party's vice president, Yim Sovann, the SRP's spokesman, told Xinhua over telephone Friday.

The SRP has officially merged with the Human Rights Party (HRP) under the banner of the CNRP in July; however, the SRP will continue as a political party until the end of the Senate mandate in 2017 because it holds 11 seats in the Senate, he said.

Sam Rainsy fled the country in late 2009 before Cambodian court sentenced him to 11 years in jail in absentia for two counts -- publishing a false map of the border with Vietnam and accusing Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong of being a member of the Democratic Kampuchea, or known as Khmer Rouge regime.

Cambodia sets to hold a general election in July next year. Yim Sovann said both the SRP and the HRP will not join the general election next year.

"Only the Sam Rainsy-led CNRP will join the polls next year and all activists of the SRP and the HRP will do campaigns and vote for the CNRP," he said.

The country holds a general election in every five years. The last election was held in July 2008. As a result, the Cambodian People's Party of Prime Minister Hun Sen won 90 seats out of the 123 seats in the National Assembly, followed by the SRP with 26 seats, the HRP 3 seats, the Norodom Ranariddh Party 2 seats and the Funcinpec Party 2 seats.

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