Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Minor party head calls on King to change law

Minor party head calls on King to change law

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
CNJP president Heang Rithy, at an event last month in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Minor party head calls on King to change law

The leader of a minor party has appealed to King Norodom Sihamoni to intervene and change widely panned amendments to the country’s Political Parties Law, which are expected to be forwarded to him after passing the Senate today.

The amendments to the Law on Political Parties passed the National Assembly last week, and Cambodian National Justice Party president Heang Rithy yesterday sent letters to the Senate and the King requesting changes to the most controversial parts – Article 6 and Article 38.

The first forbids parties, in vague terms, from “inciting to break up national unity” and “affecting the security of the state”, while the second gives powers to the Ministry of Interior to file complaints to the Supreme Court if it deems a party has committed a serious offence – including a party leader being convicted of a crime. The court can then rapidly dissolve the party in question.

The amendments are widely believed to be aimed at the Cambodia National Rescue Party, whose members have frequently been at the centre of legally questionable cases.

Rithy – whose party has no seats in parliament, and recently agreed to cooperate with Nhek Bun Chhay’s Khmer National United Party in upcoming elections – said he penned the letters because the ruling party was using the law to “concentrate their power”.

“I must lobby and advocate for this, or in the future, in Cambodia, it will be an absolutist regime,” he said.

The amendments must be signed by the King before they come into effect, and King Sihamoni – who has preferred to steer clear of politics – has never before moved to block a law’s passage or seek its amendment.

Still, Rithy said he was hopeful the King would intervene. CNRP lawmaker Mu Sochua, who has herself been tried in cases believed to be politically motived, said her party had not yet decided if they too would appeal to the King.

“We have sought His Majesty’s intervention in the past when we believed that national unity and citizens’ rights are at stake,” she said.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all