Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday hit back at critics who have condemned the government for its attempt to dissolve the CNRP.
Speaking to about 10,000 garment workers in Phnom Penh’s Por Senchey district, Mr Hun Sen said people were wrong to say that the move breached the will of those who voted for the opposition.
“Your interpretation is arbitrary,” Mr Hun Sen said. “Don’t try to use stupid logic.”
He questioned whether those who toppled King Nordom Sihanouk in the 1970 coup ever considered the will of the people who voted for him as head of state.
“Where was the will of the people then?” he said.
However CNRP vice-president Eng Chhay Eang, who fled the country, said changes to legislation that paved the way for the dissolution of his party were an injustice.
“The Khmer people and the international community will not accept the adulteration of these four laws,” he said.
On Monday, the National Assembly approved amendments to four election laws that determine how the CNRP’s parliament and local authority seats will be redistributed if the party is dissolved.
CNRP lawmakers subsequently condemned the changes, saying they violated the will of the people and the constitution. They also appealed to national intuitions and the international community to speak out on the matter.
Political analyst Meas Ny said the government was bound to defend its actions.
“We can question whether the changes comply with the constitution or stray far from its roots, but when the proposals come into force, we cannot say they are illegal,” he said.
Mr Hun Sen also used his speech yesterday to draw parallels between the case of CNRP leader Kem Sokha and former US president Richard Nixon, who resigned before he was stripped of his position amid scandal.
He added that Thai prime ministers have been removed for committing crimes, while former South Korean president Park Geun-hye was ousted and convicted in court.
“Why doesn’t anyone comment on the will of the people who voted to support Nixon? he said.
“If we find the opposition leader and the party were guilty of conspiring to treason, then they betrayed the will of people,” he added.
Mr Hun Sen recalled how opposition protesters called on him to stand down after the 2013 election.
“Did they think about the will of people who voted to support the CPP?” he said.
The Senate’s permanent committee will meet today to discuss changes to four election laws proposed by the government.
The changes relate to the distribution of party seats in the National Assembly and Senate, as well as provincial, municipal, district and commune councils.
The amendments mean the seats of any party dissolved by the court will be divided among other parties.