Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Small party files suit against Sokha for ‘wasted vote’ comment



Small party files suit against Sokha for ‘wasted vote’ comment

President Pich Sros speaks to the press about his lawsuit against Kem Sokha yesterday outside Phnom Penh court
President Pich Sros speaks to the press about his lawsuit against Kem Sokha yesterday outside Phnom Penh court. Pha Lina

Small party files suit against Sokha for ‘wasted vote’ comment

Cambodia Youth Party leader Pich Sros filed a complaint yesterday at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court against Cambodia National Rescue Party leader Kem Sokha in response to the latter’s encouragement of voters not to “waste” their votes on small parties.

“We would like to file a complaint against Kem Sokha . . . for inciting Cambodian people to discriminate against political parties and to hold a political tendency,” the complaint reads. It also accuses Sokha of violating citizens’ rights to select a leader they deem appropriate.

The complaint cites various articles of the Constitution and the Law on Political Parties related to Cambodia’s multi-party system and the right to choose political representation.

At a speech in Kampong Thom last week, Sokha discouraged voters from voting for smaller parties in the national election next year, because, he said, only the ruling Cambodian People’s Party and the CNRP had a chance to win the election.

Speaking to the press after lodging the complaint, Sros addressed Sokha. “Don’t use a political message that kills other parties,” he said. “He divided Khmer into two parts: Khmer CNRP and Khmer CPP. So he excludes other Cambodian citizens.”

He added that opposition leadership might change in the future.“Kem Sokha now is 63, in 13 years he will die. So, maybe Pich Sros is the next opposition.

So, he should keep the way for the next generation of patriots to walk,” he said. Sros’s CYP was founded in early 2016 and received a total 1,509 votes in the recent elections, all in Tbong Khmum province, according to preliminary National Election Committee results.

CNRP spokesperson Yim Sovann dismissed his claims. “I just want to say briefly that he should do something more valuable than this,” he said.

Legal expert Sok Sam Oeun, meanwhile, said that the remarks made by Sokha were not discriminatory.

“Discriminate what? Every political party always says ‘vote for us and not for the others’ . . . It’s only a political speech,” he said.

He added that complaints alleging constitutional breaches would only be heard by the court if they related to legal or governmental actions.

Grassroots Democracy Party spokesperson Sam Inn said that while the GDP, as a small party itself, agreed that the comments by Sokha were inappropriate, a lawsuit was not the right step.

“It’s not good for democratic liberalism [if] you look down on political minorities,” he said. “However, we don’t think the approach to solve the issue in court is the right approach.”

Sourn Serey Ratha, head of the Khmer Power Party, agreed. “What Kem Sokha has expressed is his political freedom of expression,” he said. “In Cambodia we don’t have any law allowing for a politician to sue for political discrimination.”

Court spokesman Ey Rin said the complaint was in the hands of the prosecutor’s office.

MOST VIEWED

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there

  • Cambodia lauded for fight against Covid-19

    Cambodia has drawn global accolades for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a new report finding that the Kingdom has controlled the pandemic better than any other country in Asia. Dr Takeshi Kasai, director of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Western Pacific region,