Prime Minister Hun Sen said yesterday that the dissolution of the opposition CNRP would have no impact on democracy in the country.
Addressing about 20,000 factory workers on Phnom Penh’s Veng Sreng Street, Mr Hun Sen said the CNRP would simply be replaced by five other opposition parties if it were disbanded, describing Cambodia as a “paradise” for political parties and NGOs.
“If one party is dissolved, then another five will replace them. So we would go from having two parties in the National Assembly to having six. It will happen soon,” he said.
“There are dozens of political parties in Cambodia. It is a paradise for political parties and NGOs,” he added.
The Prime Minister said he had been struggling to lead the nation through all manner of difficulties, citing how UNTAC spent $2 billion trying to end conflict in Cambodia, but ultimately failed.
“We have to work hard to unite the nation with a winning policy,” he said.
On Friday, the Interior Ministry filed a request to the Supreme Court to have the CNRP dissolved, following complaints lodged against it by the Funcinpec Party and Cambodian Youth Party.
Supreme Court judge Sem Sakola subsequently ordered the CNRP president to submit a response to the case within 20 days.
CNRP lawmaker Son Chhay last month asked Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana to explain the legal process behind the arrest of opposition leader Kem Sokha, arguing his parliamentary immunity had been breached when he was detained following a raid on his home.
However, Mr Vong Vathana said this week that Mr Sokha was not entitled to immunity because allegations of treason against him amounted to a “flagrante delicto” crime. Mr Sokha was last month arrested and accused of conspiring to topple the government with help from the US, based on old video footage published by the Australia-based news outlet CBN.
CNRP vice-president Eng Chhay Eang, who fled the country, in a Facebook post, said the National Assembly would discuss proposed amendments to four vital laws when parliament returns from its three-month recess today.
He said they included legislation on elections for the National Assembly and Senate, as well as provincial, municipal, district and commune councils.
“The meaning of the amendments to these four laws will be that seats of any party dissolved by the court will be divided between other parties based on a proportional formula stated in those laws,” he said.
Mr Chhay told reporters on Tuesday that there are now only 24 opposition lawmakers in the country, while the rest have fled overseas or are working abroad.
Those who are in the country will boycott today’s National Assembly session.
“We still have hope the CPP will not dissolve the CNRP and will try and work together to make the political situation calmer,” he said.
“If the CNRP is dissolved, I don’t know what we will do yet.”
An opinion piece published in local media under the name Baksey Chamkrong suggested that CNRP seats in the National Assembly could be allocated to minor parties, if the opposition were disbanded.
One choice would be to redistribute CNRP seats by vote percentages.
The CPP would remain at 68 seats, Funcinpec would have 41, the League for Democracy Party six, the Khmer Anti-Poverty Party five, the Cambodian Nationality Party two and the Khmer Economic Development Party one, the article said.
An Interior Ministry lawyer told Khmer Times on Monday that the dissolution of the CNRP would be based on the political parties law.
He said there were 21 bundles of evidence against the party.