Minister of Interior Sar Kheng on Sunday called on Muslims in Battambang province to continue supporting the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) at the 2022 commune council elections and the following year’s national elections.
“In 2022, we will hold commune council elections. I hope that in the 2022 elections, followers of Islam will continue to support the CPP,” Sar Kheng said to Muslims in the province during Ramadan.
He urged support for the government’s initiatives to maintain peace and stability, sustain development and promote multi-party democracy in Cambodia.
Sar Kheng, who is also deputy prime minister, said that while certain politicians wanted to lead a group of supporters in overthrowing the current government, they would not be able to do so.
“There are some politicians who want to topple the government. However, not many people support this. There is only a small number of such people in partisan groups,” he said.
Sar Kheng’s remarks came as the Battambang provincial court questions 35 members of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on the grounds they contravened the Supreme Court ruling that dissolved the party in 2017.
The 35 were summoned for questioning for allegedly showing support for CNRP “acting president” Sam Rainsy while gathering to eat Khmer noodles.
Hun Sen wrote last month that Rainsy had announced a plan to return to Cambodia this year with the purpose of staging a “colour revolution”.
The CNRP co-founder had previously called on the armed forces and the people to overthrow the government and arrest Hun Sen.
Government spokesman Phay Siphan told The Post that he supported Sar Kheng’s remarks because, in a democracy country, the government had an obligation to safeguard the decision of the majority. Any change in government must come through the ballot box.
“No force can destroy the popular choice of government made through elections. For a transfer of power, a party must have the support of the majority of the electorate, and last year’s national elections recorded a landslide victory for the CPP,” Siphan said.