The former secretary-general of the Beehive Social Democratic Party has formed a new political party called Our Motherland Party to take part in July’s national election, causing one member of civil society to say it merely gave the illusion of multi-party democracy.
Chan Bunhorn, Our Motherland Party president, said yesterday that an application to create the party had been filed in June 2017 and that the party was finally recognized and registered by the Interior Ministry on January 19.
He said that he and all the founders of the party followed all the proper procedures to register with the aim of competing in the upcoming election on July 29.
“The decision to create this political party was made to give me the opportunity to take part in the interests of my country and homeland. I have joined other political parties since 1993, but the party I joined did not reach the goal I wanted,” he said.
He said that so far he has set up working teams for Our Motherland Party in some provinces and cities, for which he will continue to mobilise more supporters to enable participation in the upcoming election.
“From now on, I will go with this political party. We will continue to collect support. I already had some supporters in some provinces even though the people do not know me or this new party,” he said.
Sam Kuntheamy, executive director of election watchdog NICFEC, said that in a democratic society, the creation of new political parties to participate in elections was normally a good thing, but Our Motherland Party was created merely to give citizens the illusion of choice.
“The creation of this party is just to make it seem like a liberal multi-party democracy. Many political parties will join the election, but the party that has the people’s support and vote is not one of these new parties,” he said.
According to the Ministry of Interior’s annual report released last week, there were 36 political parties at the end of 2017, including one party that had been created but was not yet registered.
In 2017, the Interior Ministry allowed the creation of three political parties and registered four parties. The ministry also removed 36 political parties from the list.