Kun Lum Ang, the wife of jailed former opposition Senator Hong Sok Hour, is set to take up the Senate seat he vacated in February to avoid a new law that would have led to the forced dissolution of his party due to his criminal conviction.
Sok Hour was arrested on Prime Minister Hun Sen’s orders in 2015 after a video on Facebook showed him giving a lecture based on a false 1980s treaty claiming the government would dissolve the Cambodian-Vietnamese border.
The next Senate election, in which only the nation’s 11,572 commune councillors vote, is due on January 14, but Senate spokesman Mam Bun Neang said the chamber would meet on Thursday to approve Sok Hour’s replacement.
“His party wants his wife to replace him in the position, so the permanent committee decided on June 29 we will start a meeting and put this onto the agenda so that the Senate can adopt it,” said Bun Neang, who is also a ruling party senator.
Acting SRP President Teav Vannol said it was a mere coincidence Lum Ang would be the new senator. “The reason is that on the Senate candidates list, she was number seven,” Vannol said, explaining the SRP won four senators in the region where Sok Hour was elected in 2013 and candidates five and six had moved on.
“Number five left the party and number six became a CNRP member. Since Hong Sok Hour resigned his position, the next available candidate is her.”
Lum Ang said she would wait until the decision was final to comment, and seconded Vannol’s comments that she was not “replacing” her husband.
“At the moment, this is only a request of the Sam Rainsy Party,” Lum Ang said.
“I don’t dare talk about it, since we have to wait for the result first . . . [but] the story saying I am ‘replacing’ my husband isn’t true.”