Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Minor party head calls on King to change law

Minor party head calls on King to change law

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
CNJP president Heang Rithy, at an event last month in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Minor party head calls on King to change law

The leader of a minor party has appealed to King Norodom Sihamoni to intervene and change widely panned amendments to the country’s Political Parties Law, which are expected to be forwarded to him after passing the Senate today.

The amendments to the Law on Political Parties passed the National Assembly last week, and Cambodian National Justice Party president Heang Rithy yesterday sent letters to the Senate and the King requesting changes to the most controversial parts – Article 6 and Article 38.

The first forbids parties, in vague terms, from “inciting to break up national unity” and “affecting the security of the state”, while the second gives powers to the Ministry of Interior to file complaints to the Supreme Court if it deems a party has committed a serious offence – including a party leader being convicted of a crime. The court can then rapidly dissolve the party in question.

The amendments are widely believed to be aimed at the Cambodia National Rescue Party, whose members have frequently been at the centre of legally questionable cases.

Rithy – whose party has no seats in parliament, and recently agreed to cooperate with Nhek Bun Chhay’s Khmer National United Party in upcoming elections – said he penned the letters because the ruling party was using the law to “concentrate their power”.

“I must lobby and advocate for this, or in the future, in Cambodia, it will be an absolutist regime,” he said.

The amendments must be signed by the King before they come into effect, and King Sihamoni – who has preferred to steer clear of politics – has never before moved to block a law’s passage or seek its amendment.

Still, Rithy said he was hopeful the King would intervene. CNRP lawmaker Mu Sochua, who has herself been tried in cases believed to be politically motived, said her party had not yet decided if they too would appeal to the King.

“We have sought His Majesty’s intervention in the past when we believed that national unity and citizens’ rights are at stake,” she said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Banteay Meanchey gunfight sees 15 Thais arrested, three officers injured

    The Banteay Meanchey Military Police have arrested 15 Thai suspects and their accomplices after a gun battle between two Thai groups caused injuries to three police officers in the early hours of November 21, local authorities said. National Military Police spokesman Eng Hy said that according to

  • PM: Do not defile Tonle Sap swamp forest or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered police to arrest anyone – including government officials – involved with the deforestation of the flooded forests surrounding the Tonle Sap Lake because it is an area important to the spawning of many species of fish, among other reasons. Speaking in a