The Cambodian Nation Love Party (CNLP) held its congress and gave a vote of confidence to Chiv Cata as president to contest this June’s commune council elections.

Meanwhile, the royalist FUNCINPEC party is due to hold an extraordinary congress on February 9 to elect Prince Norodom Chakravuth as president, despite persistent internal conflict over the party’s leadership.

The CNLP said in a press statement on January 30 that the congress had given a vote of confidence to Cata’s presidency and Tan Tin as permanent deputy chairman, while Kang Kimhak and Kheuy Sinoeun were elected as vice-presidents.

The statement said the congress also approved the party statutes, and gave a vote of confidence to the party’s 45-member Central Committee and eight-member Standing Committee. The congress set the goals and platform for the 2022 elections and identified key areas of party policy.

Vice-president Sinoeun told The Post that since the congress, the party has so far selected up to 52 per cent of its nationwide candidates.

He expected that the party would win more commune seats this year as many former councillors at the commune, district and provincial levels had joined its ranks, along with many former supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP). This would form the basis for improved results in the upcoming elections, he said.

“The CNLP announced its position, in the spirit of the former CNRP, on January 2, 2022. As a legal principle, it is not wrong. We carry the spirit of the CNRP insomuch as we believe the people would like a change of leadership. Please note, we are not trying to continue the CNRP, but we share some of its ideas,” he added.

Meanwhile, FUNCINPEC spokesman Nhoeun Raden told The Post on January 31 that the royalist party was due to hold its congress on February 9, with about 500 participants from provincial, district and working groups set to attend. The congress will vote for Prince Chakravuth, the son of the late Prince Norodom Ranariddh, as party president.

“If we continue to delay further, it may be too late as the election is getting closer. Our goal is to not give up. We have built grassroots support, and now that we have achieved that, it is a suitable time for the congress,” he said.

Raden said the Ministry of Interior had already recognised the prince as vice-president following his appointment by his father as vice-president and acting chairman.

Citing relevant laws and regulations, he said the prince was the only suitable presidential candidate. The congress will also elect a vice-chairman, determine party policy and amend some statutes in order to be in line with the leadership of Prince Chakravuth.

Chhim Kan, deputy head of the interior ministry’s General Department of Administration, told The Post on January 31 that each congress must be based on the party’s statutes, which do not concern the laws governing political parties.

“Each party determines the year and time of its congress in its statutes. The statutes may be changed as they are not laws. But if the statutes or leadership are changed, they must be resubmitted to the ministry for official recognition,” he said.