Cambodian People’s Party spokesman Sok Eysan said yesterday that Cambodia National Rescue Party officials can still meet and speak with their former leader, Sam Rainsy, under the new changes to the Political Parties Law, so long as it does not benefit the party.
Acting as head of state in the King’s absence, Senate President and CPP Vice President Say Chhum on Friday signed the second set of changes in six months to the law, which allows for the dissolution of a party found to have been “conspiring” with a convicted criminal.
Eysan said it was incorrect to interpret the changes as saying CNRP officials were banned from contacting Rainsy, who lives in self-exile in France to avoid prison, explaining that convicts were only banned from speaking about party affairs or taking leadership roles.
“If it is their individual issues, how can we prohibit them?” Eysan said by telephone. “It’s just that convicts are not allowed to be party president, central committee members or permanent committee members. This was already in the previous amendment.”
“In the second amendment, we just banned parties contacting convicts for the party interest.”
No part of the changes, he reiterated, prohibited CNRP officials – among whom is Rainsy’s wife, Tioulong Saumura – from contacting Rainsy about purely personal business.
Opposition spokesman Yim Sovann declined to comment on Eysan’s remarks. However, the CNRP released a statement yesterday saying that only its official Facebook page and website should be taken as sources of formal party positions and statements.