The royalist Funcinpec Party could be fined or be temporarily suspended if it received assistance from the Communist Party of China after its president asked for support in the upcoming general election.
Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Funcinpec’s president, asked Communist Party of China official Wang Weiguang for support for next year’s general election during a meeting on Monday.
Ruling CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said this was not a violation of the law on political parties, because no offence had been committed yet.
“He only made a request, which is not an offence, but if he receives support the party would face the consequences of the law,” he said. “For example, if I see a chicken and I want to steal it, but then I don’t steal it, I am not guilty because I did not do anything wrong.”
However, Mr Eysan said even if Funcinpec was to be fined or temporarily suspended, the case could not be compared to the dissolution of the CNRP by the Supreme Court on November 16.
“Do not be fooled by political analysts that will say the government implements two standards of the law,” he said.
San Chey, executive director for the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability Cambodia, said it was maybe comparable with the CNRP dissolution, which was accused of being involved with a foreign government.
The opposition CNRP was dissolved by the Supreme Court last month in the wake of its leader Kem Sokha being jailed on treason charges for allegedly colluding with the United States to topple the government.
Mr Sokha’s imprisonment was in part based on video footage of him in which he told a reporter that the US had been helping him push for change in the country for many years.
Mr Chey said requesting assistance from the Communist Party of China is a violation of the democratic principles the government says it upholds.
Mr Eysan said that the legitimate sources of funding for political parties are contribution from members, revenues of the party from legal businesses, donations from Khmer private companies or Khmer humanitarian associations, and the assets of the political party.
However, political parties are prohibited from receiving contributions from state institutions, NGOs, public enterprises, public institutes, and foreign companies and governments.
Prince Ranariddh and his spokesman Nhep Bun Chin were not available for comment.