Youth party leader to sue Sokha for slandering smaller parties

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Pich Sros (centre) claims CNRP leader Kem Sokha is guilty of discrimination. Supplied

The president of the Cambodia Youth Party has said he will file a lawsuit against CNRP leader Kem Sokha over claims the opposition chief discriminated against small political parties. 
 
Pich Sros said Mr Sokha had slandered smaller parties in his campaign speeches and vowed to file a complaint against him with Phnom Penh Municipal Court and the National Election Committee today. 
 
Mr Sros said: “We will file a complaint against Mr Sokha relating to his incitement of citizens to discriminate against other political parties and the violation of citizens’ right to select a leader.
 
“The lawsuit will not call for the CNRP to be dissolved, but I want legal officials to monitor Mr Sokha’s actions, and assess what level of incitement he has been responsible for so far.” 
 
He added it will be up to the court to decide whether to pursue legal action against Mr Sokha. 
 
Mr Sros said he has audio and video clip evidence of Mr Sokha speaking in Kampong Thom province’s Baray district on June 12, plus written quotes of him calling on citizens not to vote for minor parties.
 
Mr Sros said: “Mr Sokha has slandered minor political parties and prevented the Cambodia Youth Party from finding local representatives to join the commune elections, because people perceived us as a puppet party under the control of the CPP.
 
“I want to tell Mr Sokha not to slander minor political parties, because we are legitimate competitors.” 
 
Mr Sokha said on Facebook: “In my opinion, there are only two parties that compete in the country. 
 
“It’s not easy for other parties to gain popularity like this. Like in the United States, there are only two main parties that compete with each other. So, the public should understand that and vote accordingly.” 
 
Sam Kuntheamy, executive director of election watchdog the Neutral and Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia, dismissed the complaint as a minor issue.   
 
He said: “Political parties should understand each other and demonstrate maturity.” 

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