Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday suggested that members of dissolved political parties could band together to create a new political party in the wake of the opposition CNRP’s dissolution.
The opposition CNRP was dissolved last month by the Supreme Court after its leader Kem Sokha was jailed on treason charges. A number of other smaller parties have also been dissolved due to inactivity.
Mr Hun Sen said he wanted to reaffirm his stance that the CNRP had been dissolved and would not come back, since he said there had been rumours and disinformation about the revival of the party.
“Let me give you some recommendations that could be useful and not waste time,” he said. “There is only one way to compete democratically in the next election and that is to create a new party.”
However, 118 senior CNRP members were banned from politics for five years after the dissolution of their party on allegations it was colluding with the United States to overthrow the government.
Mr Hun Sen added the US needs to decide whether it wants to work with just a handful of opposition lawmakers, or with the nation as a whole.
“You choose those few people or you choose 15 million people,” he said.
“You choose to be in touch with a group of people, or you choose a relationship between country and country.”
Pol Ham, former vice-president of the CNRP, said he does not know how to create a new party because 118 CNRP members were banned from politics for five years.
“I have never thought about creating a new party because my right to participate in politics was banned by the Supreme Court,” he said. “I have no right.”
Early this month, former CNRP leader Sam Rainsy, who ceded power to Mr Sokha while in exile in France to escape court charges, said he would return to the country next year with plans of contesting the national election in July.
“We will go back to our country, we will reform our party, we will join the national election in 2018. Then we will win landslide support after Mr Hun Sen mistreated us,” he said.
San Chey, executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said Mr Hun Sen’s recommendation could pave the way for a better political situation and I still suggest politicians unify rather than divide.”