King Norodom Sihamoni has lifted the political ban on former opposition party top adviser Kong Korm and his son Kong Bora after the duo submitted requests to the Interior Ministry last week.
According to two separate royal decrees signed by the King on Tuesday, Mr Korm and Mr Bora were among 118 CNRP politicians banned from politics by the Supreme Court in November 2017.
“This grants political rights to Kong Korm, born April 6, 1941, who was banned from doing political activities for five years in accordance with a Supreme Court verdict on November 16, 2017,” one of the decrees said.
General Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, yesterday said King Sihamoni was able to issue the pardon after the National Assembly amended the Law on Political Parties, noting that only Mr Korm and Mr Bora filed requests.
“We just received letters from two officials and the King also granted the royal pardon for them,” Gen Sopheak said. “I don’t know how many others will make a request, only they can answer this question. We just implement the law.”
Mr Korm, who spoke on the phone yesterday, said he’s grateful to the King for lifting his ban, noting that he will soon become an adviser for the Khmer Will Party, headed by his other son Kong Monika.
“I’m really happy because of that. The Khmer Will Party wants the experience of a senior politician to help them. The party is happy too,” he said. “The KWP will provide a position for me. Then I will help them by giving advice and training party leaders, while I will also disseminate party policy to local party members.”
He added that other former opposition members should also do the same.
“I wish to appeal to all those who are banned from politics to reconsider because if they don’t make the request, they will not be able to return to politics,” Mr Korm said.
Mao Monyvann, a former opposition lawmaker who is currently living in Australia, yesterday said he will not heed Mr Korm’s call, and instead will wait patiently for the ban to collectively be lifted.
“I understand that everything that happened to the party was done by the government – it was them that organised everything, so I will let the government solve it. I will not make a request,” Mr Monyvann said. “We’re not required by law to make individual requests. If the government wants to solve this issue, then the government can collectively lift the ban. Then we will have a political solution and democracy.”
However, Prime Minister Hun Sen last year said that there will not be a collective lifting of the ban for all former opposition party members.