Eight former CNRP members yesterday applied to form a new party with the Interior Ministry to compete with the ruling CPP in the elections.
The CNRP was dissolved by the Supreme Court in 2017 after its leader Kem Sokha was charged and jailed for allegedly colluding with the United States to overthrow the government.
As a result, 118 former CNRP senior members and lawmakers were banned from politics for five years. Some of them had their bans lifted by King Norodom Sihamoni after they requested clemency from Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Khoeuy Sinoeun, a former CNRP member who was not banned from politics, yesterday said he submitted the request to the Ministry of Interior yesterday to establish the Cambodia Nation Love Party (CNLP).
He said the party is awaiting official confirmation.
“This new party is created after requests were made by former CNRP members and democrats when we had met them in the provinces,” Mr Sinoeun said.
Mr Sinoeun added the CNLP would aim to continue the former CNRP’s agenda to unite democrats and push for democracy.
“I would like to call on all compatriots to join my party for the sake of Cambodia,” he said, adding in the wake of the dissolution of the CNRP, its supporters were divided.
“Now we see that the opposition is divided and weaker if compared with the ruling party,” Mr Sinoeun said.
Speaking in a press conference yesterday in Phnom Penh, Chiv Kata, one of its members, said CNLP has yet to set up a structure within the organisation and political platform as it is waiting for the official confirmation.
“We do not have a president or secretary yet because we are waiting for the recognition from the government,” he added.
CPP spokesman Sok Eysan welcomed the new party to contest the commune election in 2022 and the general election in 2023.
“This new party needs to work harder to contest the election because they do not only compete with the CPP but also with dozens of other parties,” Mr Eysan said.
Kin Phea, director general at the International Relation Institute of Royal Academy of Cambodia, said having more political parties is much better than having protests in streets.
“I support all former CNRP member’s decision to form a new party…to contest the elections rather than staging illegal protests on the street and using hatred,” Mr Phea said.
“The Kingdom has big spaces for democracy despite critics saying that Cambodia barely has any,” he said.