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Opposition leader Kem Sokha walks out of the party office after a meeting last week in Phnom Penh.
Opposition leader Kem Sokha walks out of the party office after a meeting last week in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

CNRP lawmaker slaps down talk of changes

A senior Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker yesterday dismissed reports in local media that the opposition planned to confirm acting president Kem Sokha in the top job and appoint three deputy presidents.

The report, carried by outlet Fresh News on Wednesday, cited a purported senior opposition official who had accompanied a delegation with lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang to meet former CNRP head Sam Rainsy in Hong Kong last week.

The purported source said the group discussed appointing Sokha formally as president and naming three deputy presidents, including CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann.

Another outlet claimed the other two candidates for the deputy role were Rainsy’s wife, Tioulong Saumura, an opposition lawmaker, and Pol Ham, the party’s number three.

However, reached yesterday, Chhay Eang dismissed the reports as false and intended to stir trouble within the party’s ranks. “We have not thought about this issue,” he said.

“What we have been doing currently is the arrangement of commune lists to prepare [for the election],” Eng Chhay Eang said. “No, it is a complete lie. We did not talk about this.”

Kem Sokha was this month made acting president when Rainsy stepped down to avoid a slew of convictions against him from being used to dissolve the party under new amendments to the Law on Political Parties passed this week.

The party initially said it will formalise his successor at its 2018 congress, however the Political Parties Law stipulates that presidents must be replaced within 90 days.

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