Cambodian Government Moves to Dissolve CNRP Opposition Party

Serendipity Road Sihanoukville, Cambodia

Serendipity Road Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Photo: Wikirictor.

Government lawyers in Cambodia moved on Friday to end opposition to the continued rule of Prime Minister Hun Sen, submitting a petition to the country’s Supreme Court that it formally dissolve the Cambodia National Rescue Party.

The five lawyers representing the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) said the petition was based on complaints filed recently by the leaders of two smaller rival parties, Pich Sros of the Cambodian Youth Party and Prince Norodom Ranariddh of Funcinpec.

“We have studied the evidence and believe that we have ample and strong evidence against the CNRP that will allow the Supreme Court to dissolve the party,” government lawyer Ky Tech told reporters in Phnom Penh after filing the motion.

“According to [Cambodia’s] amended Law on Political Parties, the CNRP can be dissolved,” CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said in a text message distributed to reporters on Friday. “If the party is dissolved, its seats in the National Assembly will be allotted to other parties that took part in the election.”

Friday’s petition to dissolve the CNRP follows other government moves to destroy Cambodia’s most effective political opposition to Hun Sen’s 32-year rule. The CNRP’s performance in local elections in June were seen as pointing to a strong showing in next year’s general elections.

On Sept. 3, party leader Kem Sokha was arrested without a warrant in the capital Phnom Penh and accused of treason in a move critics say shows Prime Minister Hun Sen is intensifying his attacks on political opponents ahead of national elections scheduled for July 2018.

Almost 20 CNRP lawmakers, along with fellow deputy presidents Mu Sochua and Eng Chhay Eang and a number of party activists, have meanwhile fled Cambodia fearing retaliation by Hun Sen’s CPP following important electoral gains by the CNRP in local elections in June.

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Reported by RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Nareth Muong. Written in English by Richard Finney.

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