The dissolved CNRP has called for a political settlement to enable its participation in the national election while two newly formed political parties yesterday condemned former opposition leader Sam Rainsy for attempting to distribute leaflets calling for an election boycott.
The CNRP issued a statement on Wednesday, seeking a political solution so it can be resurrected to take part in the election.
“The CNRP is pleading to demand a political settlement for national reconciliation and national unity, and is ready to participate in a free and fair election,” it said.
Mr Rainsy, who has lived in exile since 2015 after a slew of court cases levelled against him, tweeted yesterday that the CNRP will make a return and participate in the election on July 29.
“I am confident that the CNRP will return to Cambodia’s political stage very soon,” he said.
However, Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday reiterated that the CNRP cannot be resurrected because the Supreme Court dissolved it after its leader Kem Sokha was jailed on treason charges for allegedly conspiring with the US to topple the government through a colour revolution.
Sok Eysan, spokesman for the ruling CPP, said a political negotiation would never materialise between the CPP and the former opposition.
Meanwhile, Mr Rainsy drew a slew of condemnations over his call for an election boycott.
Kong Monika, president of the Khmer Will Party and Chan Bunhorn, president of Our Motherland Party, issued a joint statement yesterday condemning Mr Rainsy over inciting people to boycott the national poll.
“Our parties condemn the irresponsible act for slandering and degrading political rights and the rights of the people,” the statement said. “We, politicians and Cambodian people, completely refute Sam Rainsy’s activities.”
The National Election Committee and a civil society official have also lashed out at Mr Rainsy for appealing to people to not participate in the election.
Mr Rainsy argues that an election without the CNRP was fraudulent.
Mr Rainsy on Tuesday posted a message on his Facebook page, saying: “There are only two real choices. First, abstention means that you support the CNRP in your hearts and want this party to lead the country towards positive change. Second, going to vote (for whatever party) means that you support the CPP and want this party to continue to lead the country in the same way as it does now.”
Ou Chanrath, a former CNRP lawmaker, disagreed with Mr Rainsy’s plan to distribute leaflets to the people.
“I think it is not necessary to have [leaflets] because Cambodian people have already decided if they will go to vote or not,” Mr Chanrath said, urging the NEC to extend the registration date for political parties until a political settlement is found.
“We still need national reconciliation for the situation to return to normal so we can participate in the election,” he said.
The Candlelight Party, formerly the Sam Rainsy Party, announced yesterday that it would not join the election.
NEC spokesman Hang Puthea said yesterday that the NEC could not delay the registration of political party candidates because the election had to move forward as planned.
“We cannot delay it because the NEC has to follow the schedule and the laws,” he said, adding that 16 political parties have come to receive application forms from the NEC so far.