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KPP refuses to reinstate president

Taing Vida / Khmer Times Share:
KPP president Soung Sophorn refuses to reinstate Sourn Serey Ratha following a royal pardon last week. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The Khmer Power Party on Sunday said that it will not consider reinstating former party president Sourn Serey Ratha after he was released from prison last week following a royal pardon.

Mr Serey Ratha was jailed about a year ago after being convicted of inciting military personnel to disobey their superiors.

In a statement released on Sunday, KPP president Soung Sophorn said that he has no plans to reinstate Mr Serey Ratha back into party leadership ranks.

Mr Sophorn said that party officials also agreed that Mr Serey Ratha should not be reinstated as party president.

“We do not have any internal disagreement. I understand that in Khmer culture, political parties tend to reinstate former presidents, but KPP will not do so,” he said, adding that Mr Serey Ratha had made a mistake by pleading to Prime Minister Hun Sen for his release.

Despite the disapproval, the KPP plans to meet at the end of September to offer Mr Serey Ratha an honourary president title for his past contributions.

When asked about the title, Mr Serey Ratha said yesterday that the only way he would return to politics is if he formed another party or joins another.

“I do not want the title to become like a sculpture for the party because I can still act,” he said. “I was able to form the KPP, so it means that I could continue on my own because I still have a lot of members loyal to me that would join me.”

KPP deputy president Pen Seab said yesterday that there is a conflict between Mr Serey Ratha and Mr Sophorn.

“Mr Serey Ratha never resigned as party president even when he was in jail, but he signed a letter to offer Mr Sophorn the acting president role,” Mr Seab said. “We are now waiting to see if they could settle their differences.”

Mr Serey Ratha was sentenced to five years in prison over social media postings urging the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces to disobey orders. After spending one year in prison, he wrote a letter to Mr Hun Sen expressing his regret.

He was then pardoned by King Norodom Sihamoni a week later following a request by Mr Hun Sen.

After his release from prison, Mr Serey Ratha vowed to never repeat his mistakes.

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