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New party gets ministry’s nod

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A motorist rides past the Ministry of Interior on Preah Monivong Blvd in Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmon district. Hong Menea

New party gets ministry’s nod

The Ministry of Interior has approved the formation of the Cambodian Community Voice Party to run in the commune and general elections in 2022 and 2023, respectively.

The approval came as the ministries removed three parties, pursuant to the Supreme Court decisions.

According to a letter signed by interior minister Sar Kheng, to be valid and carry out legal political activities, the party must within 180 days complete the conditions for registration at the ministry.

Ministry secretary of state Bun Honn declined to comment on August 4, referring questions to spokesman Khieu Sopheak.

Sopheak briefly told The Post on August 4 that so far nearly 50 political parties have registered with the ministry.

The Post were not able to contact Sa Lim, the representative of the proposed Cambodian Community Voice Party, for comment by press time.

Pa Chanroeun, executive director of the Cambodian Institute for Democracy, told The Post that the Constitution, election law and law on political parties have given all Cambodians the right to form political parties and stand for elections.

He noted that those who recently formed new parties were former senior officials of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), a reflection of the lack of political mechanisms that would allow them to continue to co-exist with their former CNRP colleagues.

“In a democratic society, when [in] an election contest there are many parties that are new and no party can become a competitor that carries as much weight as the ruling party, it reflects the weakness of the democratic process.

“There may be a lack of space for democracy and politics that would allow politicians from other parties, especially the former opposition, to return to politics freely,” Chanroeun said.

Former CNRP lawmaker Ou Chanrath told The Post that to establish new parties in the past, there were two options.

“The first was the divisions among former CNRP officials due to their own ambitions, policies or perceptions.

“The second option, I think, is that some may form [parties] just to get positions in the Supreme Council [for Consultation and Recommendations],” he said, referring to a council made up of political parties that contested the last general election and created to give advices to the government on various issues.

“I have said since the beginning that if the government creates seats in the Supreme Council by taking non-partisan parties in the next election, there will be a lot of parties. So I understand that it can be like that, but we do not know for sure,” he said.

Chanrath said if the people who formed their own party have a purpose and are willing to serve national interests, they should join hands to compete with the ruling party.

The interior ministry also delisted three parties – Social Democratic Party, Vokak Khemarak Mohanakor party, and Khmer Democratic Party – after the Supreme Court decided to dissolve them on July 12.

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