The Son Sann faction of the divided BLDP is planning to rename itself after its political leader, party activists said Monday. But the faction will continue its court battle with Ieng Mouly loyalists for the legal right to the party name.
The revamped “Son Sann Party” hopes to grab voters’ attention at the elections by using the name of the man who founded the BLDP. Son Sann is due to return from eight months of exile Wednesday, party members said. The octogenarian served as prime minister from 1967 to 1968.
“Local people are more likely to recognize individual names than the names of political parties,” said Sabou Yeacha, undersecretary of state for Environment and a Son Sann loyalist.
The Appeals Court last month awarded the BLDP name to the faction led by Minister of Information Ieng Mouly. Son Sann supporters have vowed to take the case to the Supreme Court, but in the meantime the faction needs a party name to compete in the elections. Ieng Mouly has indicated he will use a different name, the Buddhist Liberal Party, in the polls.
BLDP-Son Sann lawmaker Thach Reng said members would attempt to register for the election under the name of the BLDP. If the Ministry of the Interior refuses to recognize the name, Thach Reng said the party would be relaunched as the Son Sann Party.
“We want to end this complicated conflict and to finalize this problem ahead of our participation in the coming election,” Sabou Yeacha said.
But he insisted the fight to retain the name BLDP was not over.
“We don’t want to lose the history of our party because of this problem,” he said. “We have struggled for that history.”
If Son Sann were to become leader of the party, he would have to resign his position on the Constitutional Council, Thach Reng added. Son Sann was appointed by the King to a seat on the Council, which has yet to convene.