Kem Ley Party changes name to Khmer United Party

The Kem Ley Party has changed its name to Khmer United Party to comply with controversial laws rushed through parliament last year. Facebook
The Kem Ley Party has changed its name to Khmer United Party to comply with controversial laws rushed through parliament last year. It also changed its logo (left), which featured a picture of the slain analyst, to an illustration of three people holding hands (right). Facebook

Kem Ley Party changes name to Khmer United Party

The newly minted Kem Ley Party founded by the slain political activist’s brother has changed its name to the Khmer United Party.

The change puts the party in line with legal amendments passed last year – designed to target then-opposition leader Sam Rainsy – that prohibit political parties from being named after any individual or using a person’s image in their logo.

Party spokesman Kuch Ly said he filed an application on Friday morning to change the name and the logo, which initially incorporated Ley’s face. Ley was gunned down in broad daylight in July 2016 in what is widely believed to have been a politically motivated assassination.

“The new logo is three men holding hands,” he said. “It’s a symbol of unity between Khmer and Khmer.”

“This means there is no discrimination against Khmer Leu, Khmer Krom and Khmer Kandal,” he said, referring to former Khmer territories now located in present-day Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, respectively.

The law has seen the now-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party alter all of its signage, the Sam Rainsy Party change its name to Candlelight Party and Funcinpec change its logo, which previously featured the face of party leader Prince Norodom Ranariddh.

The law appears to be selectively enforced, however. While the law also prohibits religious symbols in logos, it has not stopped the ruling party’s use of a devada angel in its emblem.

The Khmer United Party also submitted a document to the Interior Ministry listing 4,000 supporters, Ly added.

The party plans to hold its first congress on April 8 and intends to compete in 20 provinces in the upcoming national elections in July.

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