Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Petitions piling up for King

Petitions piling up for King

Opposition activists deliver CNRP voter petitions to the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh
Opposition activists deliver CNRP voter petitions to the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. VIREAK MAI

Petitions piling up for King

Pressure on King Norodom Sihamoni to delay today’s planned opening of the National Assembly ratcheted up a few notches over the weekend as the Royal Palace received two rounds of petitions allegedly representing close to 500,000 citizens requesting more time for party negotiations.

The Cambodia National Rescue Party’s 55 elected lawmakers have pledged to boycott today’s ceremony, while the King has maintained he must open the assembly due to constitutional provisions.

Yesterday, about 300 people from 10 civil society groups gathered in front of police barricades at Sisowath Quay blocking the way to the Royal Palace.

Both police and the crowd remained calm, and representatives from four associations were eventually allowed past the barricades to hand over their petition to the King’s representatives outside the palace.

“Our petition simply asks our King to delay the first meeting of the National Assembly because the two parties do not agree with each other yet,” Vorn Pao, head of the Independent Democratic of Informal Economic Association (IDEA), said.

“[We ask the King] because [he] is the person who ensures peace in the country and the country is not yet at peace.”

Other groups represented included the recently formed Independent Monk Network, the Cambodian Youth Network and the Cambodian Food and Service Workers’ Federation.

The 10 groups presented the petition on behalf of more than 200,000 people, Pao said.

A group of opposition activists was also blocked by security forces while trying to deliver a different petition on Saturday.

According to CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann, more than 260,000 signatures were collected in 24 hours from around the country before being sent to Phnom Penh.

“Originally they did not want the petition to reach the King, but finally in the afternoon we could … because we spoke to the Royal Palace and delivered [many] boxes of signatures,” he said, adding that the King had not yet replied to the petition.

Ho Dino, a palace official who received yesterday’s petition, promised a reply but did not specify a date, Pao said.

Theng Savoeun, head of the Coalition of Cambodian Farmers Community, said his organisation was bringing 15 vans full of people to march on the palace yesterday when they were blocked by police on National Road 2 in Kandal.

“We just want to express our pain and ask the King not to [open the assembly] so we can stand up to demand democracy and freedom,” he said.

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said it was “possible but not probable” that the King would summon both leaders to meet with him this morning in response to public pressure.

“He should say: ‘Both of you, come, I need your advice.’”


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australian police investigating death threat against Kem Ley's widow

    Updated: 10:17am, Friday March 23, 2018 Australian authorities on Thursday confirmed they have launched an investigation into a crudely written death threat sent tothe family of slain political analyst Kem Ley and Victoria state MP Hong Lim. The typed letter, reported to Victoria police last week, is

  • Apparel groups including H&M and Gap urge Cambodia garment industry reform, seek meeting with Hun Sen

    A group representing some of the largest apparel brands in the US and Europe – including Gap, H&M and ASOS – expressed “growing concern” on Tuesday over several controversial labour laws and ongoing court cases against unionists described as restrictive and unjust. In an open letter

  • Hun Sen says Montagnards don’t exist in Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen once again attacked ex-opposition leader Sam Rainsy for pledging “autonomy” to Montagnards, claiming – seemingly incorrectly – the ethnic minority does not exist in Cambodia. “We respect all minorities such as Jarai, Steang, Phnong, but we have never had Montagnards,” the premier said