The Candlelight Party yesterday held its congress to change some articles in its statute to comply with the amended Law on Political Parties to allow it to request dissolution from the Interior Ministry if necessary.
The Candlelight Party, formerly the Sam Rainsy Party named after former opposition leader Sam Rainsy who lives in exile, changed its name after the amendments to the Law on Political Parties came into force last year.
Speaking to reporters at the party headquarters in Phnom Penh yesterday, party president Teav Vannol said the congress was held to comply with the amended law.
“We saw that the Interior Ministry did not allow the Human Rights Party to be dissolved because they didn’t hold a congress,” Mr Vannol said.
“New articles of our Candlelight Party state that the Candlelight Party can be dissolved through a congress or if there is a political situation, and the congress cannot be held, the party’s Standing Committee is able to dissolve the party based on a majority of votes – 50 plus one.”
On February 2, the Interior Ministry denied the dissolution of the Human Rights Party as it should have held a congress to seek approval to do so by a majority of its members before asking the ministry for dissolution.
Interior Minister Sar Kheng also instructed the Human Rights Party to hold a congress to seek approval from the majority of its members before asking the ministry to dissolve it.
“We have changed some articles in compliance with the internal rules of the Interior Ministry. They would not allow us to be dissolved if no congress was held,” Mr Vannol said.
“We do not intend to dissolve the party,” he added. “But we have just held this congress and made some changes to comply with the law.”
Mr Vannol added after the congress, the party made the conclusion that it will not join the upcoming national election on July 29.
“We have no plan to join the upcoming election in 2018 because based on the current political situation, we cannot join the election unless the situation returns to normal,” Mr Vannol said. “Democracy has declined in Cambodia.”
Khieu Sopheak, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said he had no place to comment on the internal workings of a political party.
“I have no comment because it is the right of the party to work as they wish,” he said. “But they have to follow their statute which is kept at the ministry.”