A law that could eliminate the opposition CNRP ahead of upcoming elections is expected to be approved at the National Assembly in April, a CPP spokesman said on Friday.
Prime Minister Hun Sen announced plans on Thursday to drastically alter the law governing political parties so that “anyone committing serious mistakes would cause their party to be dissolved,” in a blatant reference to opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who faces a slew of criminal charges widely perceived as politically motivated.
CPP lawmakers and the party’s legal experts met on Friday to discuss the proposed amendment and decided to do everything possible to pass it when the National Assembly returns in April, party spokesman Sok Eysan said.
“Because the National Assembly will return to session in April so we have two months left — February and March — and then we will have enough time to draft the amendment and submit the petition for a proposed amendment with the National Assembly,” he said.
“We hope that we can pass the proposed amendment in April as the National Assembly will return to work on the first of April,” he added.
Mr. Eysan defended the proposal and labeled Mr. Rainsy a criminal, but claimed it was not just aimed at removing the CNRP — the CPP’s only realistic threat in upcoming commune and national elections.
“He is a convict who was sentenced to two years in prison but he has never acknowledged it and then flees abroad,” he said of Mr. Rainsy, who is currently exiled in Paris.
“Even if the law is not amended, he has no qualification to be opposition leader as he has no right to not only stand as prime ministerial candidate, but he does not even have the right to vote like other ordinary voters,” he said.
“This law is going to be amended for all parties, not just to target the opposition.”
Senior CNRP lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang cut a frustrated tone on Friday, resigning himself to the fact that the opposition were powerless to prevent the ruling party passing the amendment. The CPP holds 68 seats in the National Assembly — more than the required number to pass the amendment.
“Whatever the CPP wants to do, it can do,” he said. “If they want to pass it tomorrow, they can just approve it tomorrow.”
Despite his admission that the opposition had no way of preventing the CPP moves, he said the public would ultimately judge the ruling party’s behavior.
“We all know clearly that all things today are under the fist of the CPP so whatever they are doing and going to do, let the public consider and judge it.”
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