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KPP leaders set to meet officials over status

Acting Khmer Power Party leader Suong Sophorn speaks to the press on Tuesday in Phnom Penh
Acting Khmer Power Party leader Suong Sophorn speaks to the press on Tuesday in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

KPP leaders set to meet officials over status

Leaders of the Khmer Power Party will meet Interior Ministry officials today to discuss the legal status of the party following the arrest of their leader and a police raid on their headquarters on suspicions of their links to an alleged terrorist group.

Former party leader Sourn Serey Ratha was arrested on Sunday for criticising the deployment of troops to the Lao border, and police raided his party’s headquarters on Tuesday, saying they believed he was working with the overseas Khmer National Liberation Front to create a government-in-exile.

The KPP has named its deputy leader, Soung Sophorn, as acting leader in an attempt to avoid running afoul of new clauses in the Political Parties Law that could allow for its dissolution, and the party’s leaders were yesterday sent invitations to the Interior Ministry to discuss its legal status.

Chhim Kan, the deputy director of the Interior Ministry’s Administrative Department, which sent the invitation, said he could not comment on the meeting until it took place. “I can’t say. We’ll ask them first,” he said.

Sophorn said that he would attend, and hoped to avoid the party’s dissolution. Among the changes to the parties law is a ban on parties that impact “the security of the state”.

KNLF leader Sam Serey, who from Denmark has been working to create a government-in-exile and who has long denied the government’s claims he is a terrorist, said in an email he had occasional contact with Serey Ratha’s party.

“We have same goals toward peace, freedom and democracy. His party has been working with me informally or we could say secretly due to the risk,” Serey said.

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