Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Newly registered Khmer United Party pledges support for CNRM

Newly registered Khmer United Party pledges support for CNRM

A photograph of Khmer United Party spokesman Kuch Ly and former opposition leader Sam Rainsy posted to Ly's Facebook page. On Tuesday, Ly pledged support to support Rainsy's Cambodia National Rescue Movement. Facebook
A photograph of Khmer United Party spokesman Kuch Ly and former opposition leader Sam Rainsy posted to Ly's Facebook page. On Tuesday, Ly pledged support to support Rainsy's Cambodia National Rescue Movement. Facebook

Newly registered Khmer United Party pledges support for CNRM

A day after registering his political party, Khmer United Party, spokesman Kuch Ly on Wednesday expressed support for the Sam Rainsy-led Cambodia National Rescue Movement, a group Prime Minister Hun Sen has branded as terrorists.

Initially called the Kem Ley Party, the KUP was formed by Ly and the late political commentator Kem Ley’s brother, Kem Rithisith, and registered on Tuesday, according to a Ministry of Interior document the latter posted on Facebook.

Shortly after being registered, Ly sent a letter to CNRM leaders Sam Rainsy and Mu Sochua pledging his support to the group’s cause, adding that not all the activities of the opposition were “bad”. In the past, Ly has also said that he was a supporter of the Cambodia National Rescue Party in France.

“I still defend that I am not wrong. If I appeal to people to have an insurgency against the government, then I am wrong. This only means that not all of his [Rainsy] and CNRM’s activities are bad,” Ly told The Post Wednesday morning.

He also advocated for the release of jailed “prisoners of conscience”, including former Cambodia National Rescue Party President Kem Sokha.

The CNRM was formed by a faction of former CNRP members in January to lobby foreign governments and to push for the release of Sokha. It has also floated the possibility of calling for mass protests against the crackdown on the opposition in Cambodia.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has been quick to call the movement a “rebel group”, and government officials were instructed to crack down on any local activities linked to them.

The KUP stripped the name of slain analyst Kem Ley to be in compliance with amendments made to the Law on Political Parties last year preventing naming a party after an individual.

Former opposition leader Sam Rainsy on Wednesday said that the newly minted party had no links to his movement, nor had it been set up as a proxy party to contest the July national elections. “However, I welcome any support to the CNRP and CNRM in our unwavering fight for a democratic change through real and internationally recognised elections with the participation of the CNRP,” he said in an email.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak could not be reached for comment on Wednesday and Prak Sam Oeun, director for the Department of Administration, said only that he had heard of the approved party through the media. Kem Ley’s brother Kem Rithisith could not be reached for comment.

Despite the premier’s tagging of the CNRP as a terrorist or rebel group, Cambodian People’s Party spokesman Sok Eysan said Ly was free to express his allegiances as long as he did not participate in the “rebellion”.

“If he said it and then went to do the activities, then he would face the law because we already know that the CNRM is an illegal movement, which we have called an outlawed rebellion,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the