Social media celebrity Thy Sovantha has promised to resume her support of the CNRP only if her campaign to have the party’s acting president Kem Sokha ousted from his position is successful.
“I will still support CNRP if they remove Kem Sokha, but I will not if Kem Sokha is still there,” she said yesterday.
Sovantha, who is suing Sokha after he allegedly disparaged her in leaked audio conversations purportedly between him and a mistress, invited major political parties to the launch on Friday of a campaign to get a million thumbprints from Cambodians who support Sokha’s removal.
However, participation was limited to the lesser-known parties, like the Cambodian Liberty Party, founded by ex-CPP lawmaker Chea Chamroeun, and the anti-Sokha youth group led by Srey Chamroeun.
“We want to show the CNRP the citizens’ opinions and for them to think whether they want to depose Kem Sokha or if he should to step down,” Sovantha said yesterday.
She said she did not know how much the campaign would cost to run, but maintained she could get her overseas supporters to fund it or even self fund it, adding that she could tap into the nearly 1.6 million followers she had on Facebook.
“I really hope that I will get 1 million thumbprints because I have 1.6 million fans [on Facebook],” she said.
Following the campaign’s launch on Friday, a counter-campaign for users to “unlike” Sovantha’s Facebook page went viral.
Ngoeum Keatha, a deputy CNRP youth leader in Preah Sihanouk province, said she supported the campaign against Sovantha because she was getting too “proud of her likes on Facebook”.
“We are trying to reveal her real face and by doing this at least her popularity will drop,” she added.
League for Democracy Party president Khem Veasna and Khmer Power Party president Sourn Serey Ratha, both invitees, took to their individual Facebook pages to say they had declined the invite because it was an internal issue for the CNRP.
Sisowath Chakreynupol, a prince from one of Cambodia’s royal families and the new head of the Cambodian Liberty Party, said he attended partly to meet journalists and network, but added that the Kem Sokha scandal was also an issue he was discussing at the provincial level.
“I only spoke about Kem Sokha as an individual and not the party because they have their own internal rules,” he said.
Another reason, he gave, for his participation was the effect the scandal had on the “dignity and reputation of Cambodian women”, adding that he felt it had lead to a decrease in supporters from both within and outside the CNRP.