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CNP asks Supreme Court to dissolve the opposition

Cambodian Nationality Party President Seng Sokheng seen at an interview with Radio Free Asia in Phnom Penh.
Cambodian Nationality Party President Seng Sokheng seen at an interview with Radio Free Asia in Phnom Penh. RFA

CNP asks Supreme Court to dissolve the opposition

The Cambodian Nationality Party on Tuesday issued a statement urging the Supreme Court to dissolve the opposition CNRP “as soon as possible”, after previously criticising the royalist Funcinpec party for filing a complaint against the opposition seeking just that.

The statement, signed by party President Seng Sokheng, accused the Cambodia National Rescue Party – the Kingdom’s largest opposition party – of “treason”.

CNRP President Kem Sokha is currently in jail facing widely condemned charges of treason after telling supporters he received political advice from the United States, and the Supreme Court is deliberating whether to dissolve the party under the controversial Law on Political Parties.

“We wish to support the royal Cambodian government’s intervention to arrest Kem Sokha, who has committed treason to serve a foreign country,” the CNP’s letter reads.

“The CNP requests the Supreme Court to make the decision to dissolve the CNRP . . . in order to maintain political stability in Cambodia,” it reads.

The CNRP has been accused by the government of colluding with the US to foment a so-called “colour revolution”, accusations both the party and the US have denied.

In the event of the CNRP’s dissolution, their National Assembly seats would be redistributed to minor parties. Forty-one of their 55 seats would go to Funcinpec, prompting accusations of collusion between the royalists and the ruling party. Two seats would go to the CNP.

Sokheng himself had critcised Funcinpec at the time, saying it was not their place as a political party to file such a complaint, adding that “only the government can do so”.

Reached by telephone yesterday, Sokheng said he changed his tune for the sake of the “national interest”.

“On behalf of the Cambodian people, we have the right to do so. It doesn’t matter that we did not do it before . . . If a war happens, it’s not only me who could die, but all people,” he said, referencing the government’s frequent accusations that the opposition was staging a colour revolution, a term for protest movements that have unseated authoritarian regimes elsewhere.

Sokheng also denied colluding with the government or urging the dissolution of CNRP for his own party’s benefit.

CPP spokesman Sok Eysan yesterday also insisted the CNP had acted independently.“You should consider that they are like any Cambodian people, so they have the right to express their opinion. You have no right to judge their decision,” he said.

CNRP Deputy President Mu Sochua said that “democracy is being put on trial”.

“The will of millions are trashed as part of a scenario to prolong dictatorship,” she said of the proposed redistribution of the CNRP’s seats.

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