Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday said former opposition party members banned from politics can only be allowed back if they each make a request to either himself or the Interior Minister.
The National Assembly will hold a plenary session Thursday to amend the Law on Political Parties by inserting a paragraph into article 45 of the law. Following the amendment, anyone banned from politics by the Supreme Court will have their political rights restored.
Mr Hun Sen said yesterday while meeting garment workers in Kampong Speu province that the former politicians were barred from politics by the Supreme Court and that the ban can only be lifted after making the request.
“After the law has been amended and comes into force, I will wait to receive the request made by each individual – not from a political party,” Mr Hun Sen said. “Each person must send a request either to me or the Interior Minister.”
“Please don’t be confused. The amendment is not for political parties, but it is for individuals. The request must be prepared by each person, not by a political party,” he added. “A person is granted rehabilitation by the King under a Royal Decree and the request is initiated by the Prime Minister.”
The proposed amendment says: “Any persons who are banned by the court from doing political activities will be granted their full rights to do politics after passing the validity of the ban defined by the Supreme Court’s verdict or in case those persons are granted rehabilitation by the King according to requests by the Prime Minister and Interior Minister.”
Exiled former opposition leader Sam Rainsy on Facebook Tuesday said former opposition members who wish to have the ban removed are traitors.
“Let’s see how many among the 118 former CNRP members who desire to have their political rights restored and [are] keen to let Mr Kem Sokha stay in detention because of treason charges, “ Mr Rainsy said. “That person, if not a fool, is a traitor [to] the CNRP.”
Mr Rainsy noted that politicians who return to the political arena after the law has been amended will likely listen to Mr Hun Sen to create a new political party as a facade of democracy.
Former opposition lawmaker Ou Chanrath yesterday said Mr Hun Sen and Mr Rainsy should both come up with a political solution that can benefit the nation and its people instead of pressuring their supporters.
“Personally, I think there could be other options and I am now thinking about what to do. I want to return to politics with honour and dignity,” Mr Chanrath said. “Both political leaders should stop wagering over political matters.”
Mr Chanrath was referring to a bet made between Mr Hun Sen and Mr Rainsy last month over when former opposition leader Mr Sokha, who is currently under court supervision, will be freed.
Interior Minister Sar Kheng last week hinted that Mr Sokha and other banned former opposition party members will see their five-year ban lifted. However, Mr Kheng noted that they must not have taken part in politics during the ban.