Interior Minister Sar Kheng yesterday said the founder of the Kem Ley Party needed to fulfil some conditions before becoming legal while Mr Ley’s wife announced that she refused to support the new party.
A statement signed by Mr Kheng yesterday acknowledged that the ministry had received the request to create the party.
“The Interior Ministry requests the party founder representative to fulfil some conditions limited by new articles 11, 19 and 20 of the Law on Political Parties,” the statement said.
Kem Rithysith, the younger brother of Mr Ley, who was shot and killed at a gas station coffee shop in Phnom Penh on the morning of July 10, 2016, applied to the ministry to create the party last month.
On Sunday, Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said the ministry did not object to Mr Rithysith creating a new political party in his brother’s honour, but he must follow the law.
“We do not object to the proposal to form a new party, but the party’s name was not in line with the Law on Political Parties, specifically Article 11,” he said.
Mr Sopheak noted that a new application could be filed with the ministry once the party changed its name and Mr Rithysith could carry out his mission.
Howevr, Bou Rachna, wife of the late political analyst who arrived in Australia with her five sons last month, said she refused to support the new party in a Facebook post yesterday.
“I would like to publicly declare that I refuse to support the creation of a new party, called Kem Ley, because my husband never intended to form a party,” she said.
“His intention was to provide advice to all political parties for the cause of the motherland and to the interests of Khmer people in general and for genuine democracy in Cambodia.”
Mr Rithysith could not be reached for comment yesterday while his spokesman, Kuch Ly, said he had yet to receive the Interior Ministry’s statement.
Mr Ly acknowledged seeing the news on the Fresh News website, but said had not received the statement from the ministry itself and therefore could not comment.
“I have an appointment with the Interior Ministry tomorrow at about 9am,” Mr Ly said. “I’m not sure if the Interior Ministry will allow us to use that name or not.”
However, Mr Ly told local media that the application was submitted to the ministry knowing that the name did not follow the law, saying they did so to honour Mr Ley.
“After two weeks, the ministry informed us to change the name of the Kem Ley Party,” he said. “We will change the name following the ministry’s order.” According to a statement issued last week by Mr Rithysith, the party’s goals are to further develop the country following the concepts laid down by his late brother.
“Forming the Kem Ley Party is in accordance with the laws and is to prevent extremists from using the name of Kem Ley as a tool for political purposes,” he said.