Royalist party Funcinpec yesterday followed through on its promise to file a complaint to dissolve the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), a day after the Cambodian Youth Party (CYP) lodged the same request.
While the statement is signed by Funcinpec Secretary-General Yim Savy, it begins with party President Prince Norodom Ranariddh praising Prime Minister Hun Sen for the midnight arrest of opposition leader Kem Sokha.
“As chief of Funcinpec, I would like to say the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen has taken action in time to maintain peace and political security in Cambodia,” the statement says.
Sokha was arrested last month on charges of treason widely seen as politically motivated. Under new provisions in the Law on Political Parties, a party can be dissolved for associating with a convicted criminal or undermining the integrity of the nation.
“It is impossible to separate this crime as an individual crime of Kem Sokha and ignore the responsibility of the CNRP as a whole,” the statement continues.
The complaint also says the first “phase” of Sokha’s plan to “topple the government” was the establishment of a human rights NGO, a reference to the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR).
CCHR Director Chak Sopheap was unavailable yesterday, and Programme Director Chor Chanthyda declined to comment.
Multiple analysts have suggested that Funcinpec and CYP launched lawsuits to curry favour with the ruling party, a theory that was fortified when government mouthpiece Fresh News suggested redistributing the CNRP’s National Assembly seats to Funcinpec.
CNRP Deputy President Mu Sochua, who left Cambodia on Tuesday after being warned of her imminent arrest, said she believed Funcinpec was indeed hoping to take the CNRP’s 55 seats.
“The prince himself has no ideals, he has lost all credibility,” she said, adding her party was elected to those seats and Funcinpec had “no mandate from the people”.
Indeed, Funcinpec has largely slipped into irrelevance in recent years. It failed to win a single National Assembly seat in 2013, and didn’t take a single commune in this year’s local elections.
Funcinpec spokesman Nhep Bun Chin yesterday vehemently denied any coordination with the ruling CPP or any other parties.
“There is no correlation, we are [acting] according to the state of law,” he said.
When asked if Funcinpec had struck a deal for the CNRP’s seats, he said, “I don’t look that far! You look at the sky!”, implying the suggestion was outlandish.
Additional reporting by Niem Chheng