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Two ex-opposition officials apply for political freedom

Khuon Narim / Khmer Times Share:
Kong Korm is greeted by supporters at the former CNRP headquarters. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Kong Korm, a former top advisor to the former opposition party, and his son yesterday submitted requests to have their ban on political activity lifted following the promulgation of an amendment to the Law on Political Parties.

Mr Korm and his son Kong Bora, a former opposition party lawmaker, yesterday sent their requests to the Interior Ministry.

Their requests came days after King Norodom Sihamoni signed off on the amendment that paves the way for former opposition members to have their political rights restored.

The CNRP was dissolved by the Supreme Court in November last year after its leader Kem Sokha was arrested on treason charges for allegedly colluding with the US to topple the government. Its 118 senior members were also barred from politics for five years.

Mr Korm wrote a letter to Interior Minister Sar Kheng saying that he wanted his political rights restored.

“Right now I am very happy that the amendment to Political Party law paves the way for politicians to be granted rehabilitation by the King,” he wrote.

Former opposition party members have an opportunity to see their bans lifted through making a request to either Prime Minister Hun Sen or Mr Kheng.

Mr Korm yesterday said that he hoped to re-enter politics soon.

“I want to be granted political rehabilitation to enter politics and to promote multi-party democracy,” said Mr Korm whose son Kong Monika is KWP president. “When the ban is lifted, I will work as an advisor to the Khmer Will Party.”

Sam Rainsy has called on the 118 former CNRP officials to remain adamant and not to fall into the trap of his rival Mr Hun Sen.

Mr Korm said that some former opposition members who refused to make requests will lose their chances.

“I think those who refuse to have their ban lifted destroy themselves because former CNRP could not be reinstated,” he said.

Former opposition lawmaker Ou Chanrath said that he decided not to make an individual request.

“I do not submit an individual request to have the ban lifted because of political pressure. If we ask for it, we will lose support from the people. I don’t know which party I will join, too,” Mr Chanrath said. “I believe that no people make the request except Kong Korm and his son. I believe he wants to have his ban lifted because he is helping his son’s party.”

Mr Bora could not be reached for comment but he posted a message on his Facebook page saying that he had to re-enter politics.

“Although Sam Rainsy called on the international community to destroy Cambodia and called on 118 officials not to make requests, I, Kong Bora, cannot continue to betray the people and the country,” he said.

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