Kem Sokha Denies Registering Political Party

The People Power Party—the political entity that human rights activist Kem Sokha has been ru­mor­ed to have designs on launching—has been registered with the Min­is­try of Interior, officials said Monday.

Interior Ministry political affairs department director Lay Voharith said that the PPP was registered in January by former Pursat provincial Sam Rainsy Party director Kann Virak, but Kem Sokha on Monday denied any involvement in it.

Although the name has now been registered, the PPP has no leadership structure and cannot participate in politics until they have 4,000 members and a $750 deposit in the National Bank of Cambodia, Lay Voharith said.

Kann Virak could not be reached for comment on Monday.

The SRP in April faxed a statement to media outlets alleging that Kem Sokha was planning to create the PPP.

Kem Sokha reiterated on Mon­day his denial of any plans to enter politics, adding that he believed somebody created the PPP to sully his reputation and hurt his human rights organization.

“I never intended to form a political party,” he said. “Someone form­ed the party in order to defame me.”

SRP acting secretary-general Meng Rita said he believed that Kann Virak probably had not form­ed the party alone, and that his party continues to suspect that Kem Sokha will enter politics despite repeated statements to the contrary.

Information Minister and government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said that his ruling CPP had overwhelming support and was not threatened by new parties trying to draw members with a catchy name.

“People will not run for that party,” he said.

Committee for Free and Fair Elections Director Koul Panha said that Kem Sokha was unlikely to move into politics now after his public denials of political ambition.

“His credibility would be lost if he formed a political party,” Koul Panha said.


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