Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CNRP requests meeting with King as tensions rise

CNRP requests meeting with King as tensions rise

German Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Muller (left) and CNRP spokesman Nhem Panharith (right) enter the CNRP headquarters in Phnom Penh yesterday for a meeting.
German Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Muller (left) and CNRP spokesman Nhem Panharith (right) enter the CNRP headquarters in Phnom Penh yesterday for a meeting. Hong Menea

CNRP requests meeting with King as tensions rise

The Cambodian National Rescue Party yesterday formally requested an audience with the King to discuss the country’s heated political climate, and floated the possibility of multi-party talks involving the international community after its embattled acting president, Kem Sokha, met with a delegation of German officials.

CNRP chief whip Son Chhay said the letter to King Norodom Sihamoni was required given the escalating political tensions in Cambodia, which had caught the attention of the international community.

The tensions revolve around Sokha, who has been holed up at party headquarters since police moved to arrest him a little over two weeks ago for failing to heed court summonses relating to a sex scandal involving him and an alleged mistress.

Four rights workers, an election official and a local CNRP official have also been jailed in relation to the alleged affair. Meanwhile, party president Sam Rainsy is in self-imposed exile to avoid jail time, and two other opposition lawmakers are currently in detention over comments made on Facebook regarding the Vietnamese border.

“It is not only the opposition party talking about the heated political situation,” he said. “The United Nations, European Union, United States and Germany – they worry about our country’s situation.”

Chhay said that, given an opportunity to meet the King, the party would also consider marching and delivering to him a petition with close to 240,000 thumbprints calling for his intervention in the crisis. A previous petition is currently under investigation by the Ministry of Interior after allegations of fake thumbprints emerged.

In late April, the opposition had requested the King assume his constitutional role of arbiter, and curb what they maintained was the politicisation of the judiciary in the conduct of the cases against its members.

Kong Sam Ol, minister for the Royal Palace, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Opposition members also met with a German delegation, led by German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Muller and Ambassador Joachim Baron von Marschall.

Following the meeting, Muller released a statement saying: “The right of assembly and the right of free expression of opinion are guaranteed by the Cambodian Constitution. Human rights are one of the pillars of sustainable and inclusive development.”

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said the party was pleased to hear the delegation’s commitment to protecting the rights of the people and opposition. He added that a suggestion was made to explore the possibility of talks between the CNRP, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party and the international community.

“We provided a solution to call for an international meeting between CPP, CNRP, EU representative and maybe UN representative,” he said.

CPP spokesman Sok Eysan, however, said international bodies did not get involved in political issues, and the CNRP could make as many requests as they wanted to.

“The United Nations has never summonsed parties to meet. The UN and EU do not work with the political parties, they work with the Royal Government,” he added.

Earlier in the day, Muller also met with Prime Minister Hun Sen, with the premier warning the EU not to get caught up in the CNRP’s view of the political situation.

“Samdech requested the EU to not listen and receive information only from the opposition,” said Eang Sophallet, spokesman for Hun Sen. “They must understand the process of the law in order to avoid of wrong exaggerations, especially a country with sovereignty like Cambodia.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Restrictions re-imposed in capital as Covid cases surge

    Amid the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has shown no sign of subsiding with 750 infections and 10 deaths reported on June 2 alone, the Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has decided to re-impose the suspension of all occupations and business activities deemed as posing high risk of

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway 51% complete

    The construction of the nearly $2 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway is 51.35 per cent complete and is expected to be finished in 2023, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of state Vasim Sorya. Invested in by Cambodian PPSHV Expressway Co Ltd, the first expressway in

  • With herd immunity likely in 2022, is Cambodia ready to reopen for tourism?

    The government aims to inoculate 80 per cent of the target population by June next year, giving it a head start among regional peers to reboot the sector but first, it has to do a few things to up its game A sign on a glass

  • First 7-Eleven store to open mid-June, ambassador says

    Thai retail conglomerate CP All Pcl will open Cambodia’s first 7-Eleven convenience store in mid-June, Cambodian ambassador to Thailand Ouk Sorphorn told The Post on June 1. The Bangkok-listed 7-Eleven franchise operator, the retail arm of Charoen Pokphand Group Co Ltd, granted CP All (Cambodia)

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy

  • US embassy guard gets Covid despite two doses of Pfizer jab

    The Covid-19 tracking commission on June 4 said a security guard at the US embassy in Phnom Penh had contracted the novel coronavirus, despite having received a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot two weeks ago. Embassy spokesperson Chad Roedemeier confirmed the SARS-CoV-2 infection to The