Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday called on CPP officials to invite former opposition party members to eat noodles with them in a show of solidarity following criticism from former CNRP officials questioned by a provincial court for allegedly violating a Supreme Court decision dissolving the party.
Last month, a total of 26 supporters of the court-dissolved CNRP were questioned by Battambang Provincial Court for allegedly violating a Supreme Court decision dissolving the party as they expressed support for Sam Rainsy as acting CNRP president during a gathering at a noodle shop.
This prompted CNRP leaders to urge all supporters to eat noodles in order to show solidarity for the CNRP, which was dissolved by the Supreme Court in 2017.
Mr Hun Sen yesterday said that senior CPP officials should host gatherings called “Solidarity Noodle Party” and invite CPP and CNRP supporters to eat noodles together.
“They [the CNRP] claimed those who eat noodles are their supporters,” he said. “If eating noodles becomes political, we should create noodle-eating parties for national unity.”
“I would like to appeal to Cambodians to please eat noodles together on June 9,” he added. “If opposition supporters do not have noodles, then please ask them to join – we will share for national unity.”
A total of 35 former CNRP sub-national officials were summoned by Battambang Provincial Court last month, according to defence lawyer Sam Sokong.
Mr Sokong said 26 of them were questioned over their support of Mr Rainsy being nominated as acting CNRP president as former CNRP leader Kem Sokha remains on bail facing treason charges.
“My clients are accused of violating the Supreme Court’s decision just because they gathered and ate noodles – this is ridiculous,” he said.
Mr Sokong said he will file a request to Battambang Provincial Court to drop the case after Mr Hun Sen announced the “Solidarity Noodle Party”.
Sin Rozeth, one of the 26 and a former CNRP commune chief, opened her noodle shop in Battambang one month after the CNRP was dissolved.
Ms Rozeth yesterday said since they were summoned by the court, villagers fear eating at her noodle shop.
“I used to earn up to $500 per day selling noodles, but now I only earn $5 per day,” she said. “I hope people would change their perception towards Khmer noodles.”
“Noodles are a Khmer identity food, it’s not politics,” Ms Rozeth added.