Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rainsy warns CPP over law

Rainsy warns CPP over law

Former CNRP leader Sam Rainsy, seen speaking to the press in Tokyo in 2015, threatened to trigger the ruling party’s dissolution under controversial new laws in an interview with Radio Free Asia on Wednesday.
Former CNRP leader Sam Rainsy, seen speaking to the press in Tokyo in 2015, threatened to trigger the ruling party’s dissolution under controversial new laws in an interview with Radio Free Asia on Wednesday. Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP

Rainsy warns CPP over law

Former opposition leader Sam Rainsy has warned he could praise the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, creating a trigger for its dissolution, if it attempts to use recent legal changes to dissolve the Cambodia National Rescue Party on the basis of his public support for the party.

In February, Rainsy was forced by changes to the Political Parties Law to resign as the CNRP’s leader or risk it being dissolved due to his criminal convictions. Further changes introduced this month would allow for its dissolution simply for associating with him.

The changes, already passed by CPP lawmakers in the National Assembly and Senate, would allow for the closure of a party that breaks new provisions banning a party from “accepting or conspiring with a convicted criminal to do activities in the interests of the party”.

Yet in a radio interview on Wednesday night, the former CNRP leader said he would not stop campaigning online from abroad, and that the opposition’s current leadership could simply issue a statement saying it disavows his support to avoid any dissolution.

“It may declare in principle from the very beginning that the only individuals allowed to speak on behalf of the party are its leaders, permanent committee members and spokesperson,” Rainsy told Radio Free Asia from France, where he lives in self-imposed exile.

“As for other individuals, their comments are their own, and such individuals must be held solely responsible. As I’ve said earlier, I will speak about the issues facing our country.”

The government could, in effect, be caught in a catch-22 of its own making if it sought to dissolve the CNRP under the new laws, Rainsy explained, because he could heap praise on the ruling party if it did something good, leaving it in the same position as the CNRP.

“If I see any party doing well – say the CPP may one day awaken and rectify themselves through good deeds – I will commend it,” he said. “In such a situation, if the CPP doesn’t issue a rejection . . . the CPP itself would also be subject to dissolution.”

However, CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said that no one would believe Rainsy was sincerely praising the government if he made any announcement commending it as part of a ploy.

“There’s no way. He can’t place the trap for the CPP, because since before Sam Rainsy has been enemy of the CPP, so how could he praise the CPP?” Eysan said. “The CPP could not accept that, and there are no people who would believe that Sam Rainsy praises the CPP.”

“We consider all this to be a trick, but no trick can trap the CPP,” he added, explaining that also few people would believe the CNRP disavowing Rainsy. “When they are afraid of facing punishment, they will deny it, but in fact their internals all agree with each other.”

Twenty-nine CNRP lawmakers wrote a letter to King Norodom Sihamoni yesterday asking he consider the constitutionality of the changes to the Political Parties Law, which the Senate approved this week, before signing off on them and giving them full legal force.

“This proposed law violates and impinges upon the Constitution, which is the most supreme law, in Article 35 . . . which says ‘Cambodians citizens of both sexes have the right to participate actively in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the nation,’” the letter says.

In any case, Rainsy said in his radio interview he would not stop discussing politics with his wife, CNRP lawmaker Tioulong Saumura, out of any fears the government could use his relationship with her as an example of the opposition “conspiring with a convicted criminal”.

“Only the Khmer Rouge sent its agents to spy and cause trouble against its own citizens [based on family],” Rainsy said. “My wife is still my wife, and I remain her husband.”

“We maintain our private lives just like other families,” he said. “If this law is promulgated so that I will have to divorce my wife, I will never follow it.”

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • Nestle’s debut may spur dairy market

    Leading confectionery manufacturer Nestle plans to invest in Cambodia by setting up an operation in the near future, a move majorly hailed by local dairy farmers as a means of boosting the fresh milk market in the Kingdom. During a visit by a delegation led

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement