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Rights Leader Announces 2008 Political Party

Human rights leader Kem Sokha announced Friday the launche of a new political party to vie for parliamentary seats in the 2008 election.

He started the Human Rights Party, he said, because "the people need me."

The party would run on an anti-corruption platform and would be a potential rival for the Sam Rainsy Party, the only Cambodian opposition party with seats currently in the National Assembly.

The Sam Rainsy Party made modest gains in commune elections earlier this month and has called on other smaller parties to join him in a coalition to oust the ruling Cambodian People's Party in 2008.

Kem Sokha, who was inprisoned in 2006 on defamation charges, told the Cambodia Daily he would consider joining the opposition alliance but would not make an announcement until his party held a congress in July.