Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Breaking: Assembly passes Party Law changes targeting Rainsy

Breaking: Assembly passes Party Law changes targeting Rainsy

Prime Minister Hun Sen, seen through a door at a National Assembly session in late February where controversial changes to the law on political parties were approved.
Prime Minister Hun Sen, seen through a door at a National Assembly session in late February where controversial changes to the law on political parties were approved. Pha Lina

Breaking: Assembly passes Party Law changes targeting Rainsy

Cambodia's National Assembly swiftly passed controversial new laws this morning to effectively ban former opposition leader Sam Rainsy from the political arena, and to forbid the Cambodia National Rescue Party from using his near-ubiquitous image in their campaign material and logos.

The amendments to the Law on Political Parties are the second round of changes to the legislation this year, following an earlier amendment forcing Rainsy to resign as the president of the CNRP in February to avoid the possible dissolution of the party, just months ahead of the bellwether commune elections.

At around 9:30am, the amendments were passed at the National Assembly with 66 votes. The CNRP, which holds 55 seats to the ruling Cambodian People's Party’s 68, boycotted the vote.

The law bans parties from “using the voice, image, written documents or activities of a convicted criminal … for the interests of the party”, and from “accepting or conspiring with a convicted criminal to do activities in the interests of the party”. Currently Rainsy appears - along with party President Kem Sokha - on thousands of party billboards across the country, and is a regular speaker, via Skype, at opposition events.

The new law also prevents political parties from “supporting or organising any plans or conspiracies with any individual to undertake any actions against the interest of the Kingdom of Cambodia”. Any parties who violate the law could be banned from political activities for five years and disallowed from competing in elections, or even dissolved, the amendments say.

Rainsy, who is currently in self-imposed exile in France, yesterday took to Facebook to condemn the latest changes, branding them the “Anti-Sam Rainsy Law”.

“It's really silly on the part of Prime Minister Hun Sen to order his yes-men at the rubber-stamp National Assembly to produce a ‘law’ that just targets one single person,” he wrote.

“It's now clear for the public that Hun Sen is afraid of me – his best enemy – to the extent that only my name or my photo or my voice or my shadow or any representation of me causes him insomnia.”

“However, I am concerned that my like-minded CNRP former colleagues, all government critics and all Cambodian democrats will be held hostages by the authoritarian CPP-led government so as to silence me but I will resist blackmail and, at the same time, do my best to ensure that I will be the only person they will blame and want to punish.”

The laws still must be approved by the Senate and the Constitutional Council, a process which has often been characterised as a mere “rubber stamp”, before they are signed by the King into law.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman