Prime Minister Hun Sen has promised next year’s general election will go ahead without any limitations while advising government officials to stop talking with opposition party members overseas.
Addressing a gathering of workers yesterday morning, Mr Hun Sen urged the public to take note of the date for the 2018 general election, which is July 29.
He added that all political parties have the right to take part if they choose to.
“Cambodia is an independent and sovereign nation. Cambodia is not a host country for anyone. Myself and the government have nothing to say to illegal outsiders,” he said.
He added that officials should stop talking with opposition party members overseas and that all hopes of the CNRP being revived should be dropped.
“If you do not create a new party, you cannot look in my mother’s face. You can go wherever you want, this country is not hostile,” he said.
The Prime Minister stressed that if former opposition figures did not create a new party, it would be their own loss.
He said former opposition lawmakers who fled abroad were self-destructive, and were free to return to Cambodia if they wanted, since nobody had banned them from doing so.
The Prime Minister also called on all workers to vote in the general election next year.
He said he strongly hoped that workers and their parents would continue to vote for the CPP.
Since the dissolution of the CNRP last month, major western countries have cut off electoral aid to the government, but allies such as China, Japan, South Korea and Russia continue to support the polls.
The United States last month suspended funding for the election and imposed visa sanctions on those involved in the government’s “actions to undermine democracy”, as has the European Union.
Speaking in New York yesterday during a United Nations panel discussion on the current political situation in Cambodia, former CNRP leader Kem Sokha’s daughter Kem Monovithya, who was also a senior figure in the opposition, said the ruling CPP had no respect for the election process.
She cited the redistribution of the CNRP’s old seats as proof that the government was failing to uphold democracy.
The last general election was in 2013.
The National Election Committee said 9.67 million Cambodians were eligible to vote, but voter turnout was reported to be 68.5 percent, making it the lowest in history.
The CPP won 68 seats and the then opposition CNRP won the remaining 55.