Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CNRP vexed as CPP continues to call Sokha’s presidency illegitimate



CNRP vexed as CPP continues to call Sokha’s presidency illegitimate

Opposition lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang speaks to the press after his party met with the Interior Ministry yesterday in Phnom Penh.
Opposition lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang speaks to the press after his party met with the Interior Ministry yesterday in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

CNRP vexed as CPP continues to call Sokha’s presidency illegitimate

Opposition lawmakers yesterday left a meeting at the Interior Ministry exasperated, as officials from the latter continued to deem the presidency of their leader, Kem Sokha, and the vice presidency of three senior lawmakers, illegitimate, but offered no clear path to a resolution.

The talks, which lasted an hour and a half, sought to address a ruling by the ministry last week that the CNRP’s congress on March 2, which elevated Sokha to the top job and named Pol Ham, Mu Sochua, and Eng Chhay Eang as deputies, was against an older set of the party’s bylaws and therefore invalid.

The ruling initially left the CNRP’s participation in the upcoming commune elections up in the air. However, reached yesterday, National Election Committee spokesman Hang Puthea said that even if Kem Sokha is only considered the “acting president” their candidate lists would remain valid.

Interior officials also used the talks to ask the opposition to change its unofficial slogan, with which they have taken issue.

After the meeting, director- general of the Interior Ministry Prak Sam Oeun said the body still did not recognise the CNRP leadership.

Sam Oeun urged the opposition to “do correctly” and “take a look into the [old] statute and [then] hold an extraordinary congress”. His request, however, ignores the fact that the CNRP did acknowledge the statute, specifically Article 47 which stipulated the party should wait 18 months to select a new leader.

The party had voted to change it before electing their new leadership at the congress, which was held following the resignation of former party president Sam Rainsy in February. They also submitted the changes to the Interior Ministry, as per procedure.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
CNRP members (left) sit opposite Interior Ministry officials at a meeting to discuss the legitimacy of the party’s new leadership yesterday in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

These points were not addressed by Sam Oeun yesterday, despite questions from reporters, nor was the fact that the recently approved Law on Political Parties stipulates parties shall replace leaders within 90 days after their resignation.

Despite his lack of explanation on how exactly the CNRP could move forward, Sam Ouen said his ministry had displayed flexibility in meeting with the opposition.

He also seemed to suggest the purported infraction would be forgotten if the CNRP abandoned what has become a popular, albeit unofficial, call for voters to replace commune chiefs who “serve the party” with ones who “serve the people”.

“If the CNRP enforces according to the letter of the Interior Ministry … and changes the slogan [the problem] is finished,” Sam Ouen said, adding the ministry would “take measures” if the CNRP failed to comply, while offering no further information.

After the meeting, CNRP deputy president Eng Chhay Eang called the meeting unproductive but said the CNRP would attempt to follow the Interior Ministry’s ruling. “Just now we asked the Ministry of Interior to confirm on what point are we wrong and to help and tell us how to comply accordingly,” he said.

“The Interior Ministry is in charge of political parties … They must be clear. We asked them to clarify but … they said ‘let us take a look at the letter’,” he said, referring to last week’s statement by the ministry declaring the CNRP had “violated” its own rules.

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Woman seeks answers after arrest of American partner

    Filipina Lalaine de Guzman, 48, is demanding answers for the detention of her American partner by Cambodian immigration officers after he was arrested at their home almost 90 days ago. She said without an arrest warrant or proffering any criminal charges, Stephen Sidney Greatsinger, 56, is being detained

  • ‘No chance Cambodia booted out of ASEAN’

    A group of former and current Cambodian diplomats on Tuesday fired back at retired Singaporean diplomat Bihalari Kausikan after he proposed that ASEAN dismiss Cambodia and Laos from the bloc. In an open letter, the Cambodian diplomats said Kausikan’s remarks were made from a

  • Phnom Penh underpass opens to ease traffic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced a temporary opening of the 488m underpass at the Chaom Chao roundabout in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district, which was recently completed to connect traffic from National Road 4 to Russian Federation Blvd. The move is to reduce

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital