Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Party law vote set for Monday

Party law vote set for Monday

CNRP lawmakers Eng Chhay Eang (back left), Yem Ponhearith (front left), and CPP lawmaker Chheang Vun (right) speak to the press after a meeting at the National Assembly yesterday in Phnom Penh.
CNRP lawmakers Eng Chhay Eang (back left), Yem Ponhearith (front left), and CPP lawmaker Chheang Vun (right) speak to the press after a meeting at the National Assembly yesterday in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

Party law vote set for Monday

Opposition lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang said yesterday that Cambodia National Rescue Party banners featuring self-exiled former party President Sam Rainsy will be taken down nationwide after a National Assembly vote on Monday that is expected to ban the use of his image in party materials.

However, he added, the banners will be put back up “when we win the election”.

The National Assembly’s permanent committee yesterday decided to call a plenary session of parliament on Monday to vote on changes to the Law on Political Parties that would ban the CNRP from “conspiring” with Rainsy or using his face, voice or writing.

The changes ban any party from “using the voice, image, written documents or activities” of a convicted criminal, or from “conspiring” with one, and allows the courts to dissolve any party that breaks the law or ban them from political activities and elections.

Chhay Eang, a long-time confidante of Rainsy, said after the meeting that the CNRP’s 55 lawmakers would boycott Monday’s vote, effectively allowing the CPP’s 68 lawmakers to pass the changes, which were ordered by Prime Minister Hun Sen last week. “With this law their aim is to zoom out to make the road that we can walk on become small. However, everything the CNRP does is towards its goal: change through elections,” Chhay Eang said after the permanent committee meeting, adding the CNRP was unfazed.

National Assembly President Heng Samrin speaks at an Assembly meeting yesterday in Phnom Penh.
National Assembly President Heng Samrin speaks at an Assembly meeting yesterday in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

“If they don’t let us use the name of Sam Rainsy, we’ll change it out. We don’t worry. We work toward our goal,” he said. “When we win the election, we will have enough votes to cancel it.”

Chheang Vun, spokesman for the CPP’s lawmakers, said the new amendments to the law were necessary after a previous set of changes in February – which forced Rainsy to step down as CNRP leader or risk his party’s dissolution – failed to stop him from campaigning via social media from abroad.

“We put pressure to not let any convicts be involved with any party, and it’s very important. In our world, the superpower countries always want small countries to be their satellite,” Vun said, in apparent reference to the US.

“Those staying outside think that someday he can return [if a] superpower country helps him to come, [but] when the superpower country helps him to come it could affect Cambodian national society, making a split in our nation and society.”

“We are doing this to defend the citizens,” he added.

Yet Rainsy – who again fled a politically tinged criminal conviction in November 2015 after having returned in 2013 from self-exile to lead the CNRP to huge gains at the disputed national election that year – questioned the true motivations of the law changes.

“It’s really silly on the part of prime minister Hun Sen to order his yes-men at the rubber-stamp National Assembly to produce a ‘law’ that just targets one single person,” Rainsy said in an email. He added that he would be careful not to provide the CPP pretext to dissolve the party he helped create, but would not end his criticisms of the government.

“It’s now clear for the public that Hun Sen is afraid of me – his best enemy – to the extent that only my name or my photo or my voice or my shadow or any representation of me causes him insomnia,” he said.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • 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

  • Ex-RFA journos accuse outlet

    Two former Radio Free Asia journalists held a press conference yesterday claiming they are each owed $28,000 by the US-funded radio broadcaster, which shuttered its in-country operations in September amid a government crackdown on independent media. The journalists, Sok Ratha and Ouk Savborey, maintained they organised