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Former Cambodian People’s Party member Chea Chamroeun speaks at a press conference yesterday in Phnom Penh where he announced the formation of the Cambodian Liberty Party.
Former Cambodian People’s Party member Chea Chamroeun speaks at a press conference yesterday in Phnom Penh where he announced the formation of the Cambodian Liberty Party. Heng Chivoan

Ex-CPP lawmaker launches political party

A former Cambodian People’s Party lawmaker who recently announced his resignation from the CPP yesterday launched his own political party.

Chea Chamroeun, most recently an adviser to National Assembly President Heng Samrin, said the Cambodian Liberty Party (CLP) would adopt the same “historic nationalism” as Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, which recently trounced Myanmar’s military junta in the country’s celebrated elections.

Chamroeun said he would submit his registration documents to the Ministry of Interior on December 25 and in the meantime develop the party’s political platform through public consultations.

“The political platform will not be for me, but for the nation, therefore I have to conduct surveys for a month before officially laying down the political platform of the CLP,” Chamroeun said during a press briefing at the Sunway Hotel in Phnom Penh, adding he would approach workers, farmers, businessmen and victims of the judicial system.

Chamroeun, a business tycoon who serves as dean of the Chamroeun University of Poly-Technology, initially said quitting the CPP would allow him more time to do humanitarian work. However yesterday, Chamroeun, who also served on the National Election Committee in 1998, said he was spurred to enter politics based on a personal grievance with the judiciary.

He cited a case of losing money, land and his business through “injustice”, an apparent reference to an unsuccessful fraud case he filed against business partner Oeung Rithea in 2010, accusing her of stealing $1.9 million.

Rithea, initially convicted, was freed on appeal in 2011.

A slew of smaller parties have entered the Cambodian political arena over the past year, in what some analysts say is an attempt to dilute the power of the CNRP, which was formed in 2012 after the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party merged.

But Chamroeun dismissed suggestions he was paid by the CPP to start a smaller party to take votes from the opposition.

“I was not ordered by the CPP,” he said, adding: “I lost my money and I lost my land because of the procedure of the laws, so I have to wake up to find justice for society through political activity.”

Koul Panha, executive director of election monitoring NGO Comfrel, said that about 50 political parties had been registered with the Ministry of Interior, but only six or seven were politically active.

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