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Dissolved CNRP decries party registration

Khuon Narim and Mom Sophon / Khmer Times Share:
Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha. KT/Mai Vireak

The dissolved CNRP has lashed out at the National Election Committee for ending registration of political parties to contest the election in July without its participation.

The NEC on Monday registered 20 political parties to participate in the upcoming national election on July 29 as the 15-day window to register candidates came to an end.

“The CNRP condemns the government and the National Election Committee for disenfranchising Khmer citizens’ choice as voters without letting the CNRP contest the upcoming election,” a statement released by the dissolved CNRP said.

The dissolved CNRP has also called on the public to boycott the election and asked the international community to denounce the election results as illegitimate.

The CNRP was dissolved by the Supreme Court in November after its leader Kem Sokha was jailed on treason charges for allegedly conspiring with the US to topple the government through a colour revolution. Its 118 senior party members were also barred from politics for five years.

Hang Puthea, NEC spokesman, denied that the NEC was biased and noted that it is simply following the law.

“A party dissolved by the court cannot be allowed to register,” Mr Puthea said.

The Cambodian People Party, Cambodian Youth Party, Cambodian Nationality Party, and Khmer National United Party were officially recognised so far. The NEC is also reviewing the documents of 16 other political parties.

“What he [Sam Rainsy] raised is contrary to the laws and the 15-day window registration ended yesterday and 20 political parties registered,” Mr Puthea said, referring to the CNRP’s former leader who has led the boycott calls.

Some Facebook users yesterday began changing their profiles by adding the lines, “I go to vote because I love my country” and “We go to vote to maintain peace and our national stability”, in a move to counter the boycott calls.

Chin Malin, undersecretary of state at the Justice Ministry, said that he changed his Facebook profile because voting was crucial.

“Voting is a right of the people and no one can force them to abstain,” he said. “Obstruction of their right to vote, such as incitement, exaggeration, and causing public confusion, violates the constitution, election law and people’s rights,” Mr Malin said.

Sok Eysan, spokesman for the ruling CPP, dismissed the CNRP’s statement, saying that the international community had no influence on Cambodia.

“It is useless because [the CNRP] is already dead and now the people no longer listen to Sam Rainsy because he is mentally deranged,” Mr Eysan said.

Meanwhile, the Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia yesterday announced that it intended not to observe the national election.

Korn Savang, Comfrel’s monitoring coordinator, said yesterday that the organisation has decided not to observe the election because the government has banned it from gathering with key partners as it did during the 2017 commune elections.

“The reason that Comfrel and other civil society organisations decided not to observe is because the government will not allow us to create a situation room, and the government has put the situation room members on a list accused of aiding a colour revolution, so we are afraid,” he said.

In the wake of the 2017 commune elections, the Ministry of Interior investigated a ‘situation room’ set up by Comfrel and its partners to monitor the election, accusing the group of being illegal because it had not registered as a single entity.

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