Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Third politician granted royal pardon

Third politician granted royal pardon

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Former CNRP, Sim Sovanny has become the latest to have his ban on politics lifted after he made a request. Supplied

Third politician granted royal pardon

King Norodom Sihamoni on Saturday granted a royal pardon to Sim Sovanny, the third banned opposition politician to request political "rehabilitation", allowing him to return to the political fold.

Sovanny, a Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) committee board member, is one of 118 high-ranking CNRP officials who were banned from political activity in November 2017 when the Supreme Court dissolved the opposition party two months after its president, Kem Sokha, was arrested for treason.

Following his personal request, Sovanny becomes the third official to receive a pardon since the Amendment to the Law on Political Parties became effective on January 6.

The amendment paved the way for the banned politicians to be able to request a pardon and end their five-year ban from political activity.

'Choose dialogue'

Kong Korm, former advisor to CNRP and Kong Bora, former lawmaker, received a pardon in January.

“Political rehabilitation is granted to Sim Sovanny, called Sim Vanny, male, born on January 13, 1976, who was banned from involvement in political activity for five years according to the Supreme Court verdict Number 340 dated November 16, 2017,” the King’s letter of pardon stated.

Sovanny told The Post on Sunday that he requested the pardon because he wanted to encourage the leaders of the ruling and opposition parties to choose dialogue as the way to go forward and not to regard each other as enemies.

He said that for now he would wait and see if other democrats would return to compete equally in political arena.

Sooner or later, he said, all the 118 banned officials would be back in politics – so there was no need for him to wait for that.

“Now, out of the 118, only 115 left to go. Can they escape from being granted political rehabilitation by the king [in order to achieve] reconciliation? If they understand this, they would not have this doubt,” he said.

CNRP "acting president" Sam Rainsy previously said he regarded banned officials who request royal pardons as “party betrayers”.

He said requesting a pardon meant they accepted that the CNRP was guilty of the supposed wrongdoing which led to its dissolution, but Sovanny rejected the claim.

“It is not acceptance of the [party] dissolution. This is the verdict of the court. The CNRP doesn’t accept the dissolution. But for political resolution, the Ministry of Interior opened a way for banned activists and politicians to request to the King through the Ministry of Interior to get their political rights back."

"This is good. No matter how I am criticised, I am doing it for my country,” Sovanny said.

He said other banned CNRP officials were considering requesting a political pardon, but they were waiting to see a political resolution first.

Phat Sophanit, spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior could not be reached for comment on Sunday whether there had been more pardon requests submitted.

Ou Chanrath, another banned CNRP officials and former lawmaker for Takeo province said Sovanny did not consult with him in making a request, but it was Sovanny’s rights to do so.


  • Without shoes or a helmet, a young cyclist steals the show

    Pech Theara gripped the curved handlebars of his rusty old bike, planted his bare feet on its pedals and stormed as fast as he could towards the finish line. The odds were against him as the 13-year-old faced off against kids with nicer bikes at

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway on schedule

    The construction of the more than $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has not been delayed despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 26 per cent of the project completed and expected to finish in about two years, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there

  • Cambodia lauded for fight against Covid-19

    Cambodia has drawn global accolades for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a new report finding that the Kingdom has controlled the pandemic better than any other country in Asia. Dr Takeshi Kasai, director of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Western Pacific region,