King Norodom Sihamoni has reinstated the political rights of two more former officials from the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).
Two separate royal decrees dated August 14 reinstated political rights for former parliamentarian in Kandal province Khim Laky and then-CNRP chief executive for Takeo province Mao Sophal.
They were among the 118 former CNRP leaders who were banned from participating in politics for five years when the CNRP was dissolved by the Supreme Court on November 16, 2017.
Neither Laky nor Sophal could be reached for comment on August 16.
Cambodia Reform Party (CRP) founder Ou Chanrath – a former CNRP lawmaker for Takeo who has also had his political rights reinstated – said he expected that there would be many more former senior CNRP officials who will request political rehabilitation in the coming days.
Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, was of the view that this quiet lead-up period to the 2022 commune council elections was an appropriate time for senior CNRP officials to request political rehabilitation.
However, he said it was not certain that all those who re-apply for political rights will actually be reinstated because in the past there had been applicants who were turned down on the grounds that they had not complied with the Supreme Court’s ruling.
As of August 15, a total of 26 former CNRP officials had been granted political rehabilitation by the King at the request of Prime Minister Hun Sen.