Former opposition leader Sam Rainsy has again slammed the impending “anti-Rainsy” changes to the Political Parties law, telling supporters in France that Prime Minister Hun Sen was using them to foster a “culture of war” to frighten members of his own party.
The new changes forbid parties from conspiring with, or using the image, voice or written materials of a criminal convict – including the founding Cambodia National Rescue Party leader – and were approved by the Constitutional Council on Tuesday.
“Why does Hun Sen need to always create tension associated with a culture of war and to permanently maintain an atmosphere of war?” Rainsy said in a speech in Paris on Tuesday alongside two CNRP lawmakers, a video of which was posted to his Facebook.
“A war of mentality, war of words, war of imprisonment, war of murder, and war of disownment has approached me,” he said, explaining Hun Sen was indirectly threatening his own party from “joining hands with the CNRP for the sake of our country”.
Rainsy said by email yesterday that he believed the prime minister was launching the attacks against him because some Cambodian People’s Party members wanted to defect to the CNRP. But he said he could not reveal their names due to “security concerns”.
“They are frightened by Hun Sen’s warlike language and gesticulation,” Rainsy said.
CPP spokesman Suos Yara said that Rainsy’s claims Hun Sen was fostering a culture of war through his attacks on the opposition were not worth responding to. “We do not talk to the convict people. The convict has no right to talk with us,” he said, saying it would soon be “against the law” for criminals to be involved in politics.
“Are you sitting in Phnom Penh, or a war zone? Are we at peace or at war now?”
National Assembly spokesman Leng Peng Long also said yesterday that the new laws had been sent from the Constitutional Council to the government “in a hurry” to allow them to ask Senate President Say Chhum to sign them into force in the king’s absence.
Senate spokesman Mam Bun Neang said Chhum would sign off on the amendments as the acting head of state once they were received.