The Interior Ministry has allowed former Khmer Rouge photographer Nhem En to establish a political party named the Worker’s Prosperity Party.
However, in order to participate in upcoming elections, WPP is required to garner 4,000 thumbprints from members.
In a letter signed on Friday by Interior Minister Sar Kheng, the ministry approved Mr En’s party, which is headquartered in Siem Reap province.
“I would like to inform the party founder that the Interior Ministry has allowed for the formation of the Worker’s Prosperity Party,” the minister said.
The letter said in order to have valid legal standing, Mr En must fulfill requirements in accordance with the Law on Political Parties.
Am Veasna, deputy chief of the department of associations and political parties at the ministry, yesterday said Mr En now has to garner 4,000 thumbprints from members of his party.
“If the party doesn’t complete the statutes required by the Law on Political Parties, we will not register the party,” Mr Veasna said. “So, the party has to submit 4,000 thumbprints to receive validation.”
Mr En, a former Oddar Meanchey provincial opposition official, was sacked in 2015 for failing to show up for work.
Yesterday, Mr En said his party will contest the next election.
“I created this political party because I have seen some political parties with no transparency,” he said. “My party’s stance adheres to the principles of a multi-party democracy and I am committed to reforming government loopholes.”
“I am creating this party because of my love for the nation and the public,” Mr En added. “My party does not oppose the government, we will reform lacking aspects of the government and present constructive criticism.”
He said his party is currently being formed and will contest in the upcoming elections, noting that a congress is to be held in order to determine who will lead the party.
In 1976, Mr En was sent by the Khmer Rouge regime to study photography in China. After his return to the Kingdom, Mr En was placed at Tuol Sleng in Phnom Penh by the regime to take photographs of inmates.
In 2005, he became Anlong Veng deputy district governor. In 2009, he joined the district council.
In 2011, he once again became district deputy governor before becoming an Oddar Meanchey provincial official in 2014.
Former opposition lawmaker Ou Chanrath yesterday said all new parties are welcome, but noted that Mr En’s party will not be an effective force in taking power away from the CPP.
“I think that the [WPP] cannot grab power from the ruling CPP, even with the new 20 political parties that were created such as the GDP,” Mr Chanrath said. “Many people know [GDP], but look at how they performed during the 2018 national election – they couldn’t get any seats.”
CPP spokesman Sok Eysan yesterday said citizens of the Kingdom have the right to create a political party, but noted that rules and regulations must be followed.
“We welcome the establishment of political parties that comply with the [principles] of a multi-party democracy,” Mr Eysan said.