Khem Veasna, the provocative leader of the small-time League for Democracy Party (LDP), was re-elected to his position at a party convention in Phnom Penh on Sunday, seizing on the opportunity to scold the deputy opposition leader and praise the prime minister.
In closing remarks after his reappointment as the president of the LDP, a party he founded after being booted as a Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) lawmaker in July 2005, Mr. Veasna mocked CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha over recent public claims that he has a mistress.
Mr. Sokha has adopted a policy of “don’t answer, don’t respond, don’t argue” in response to the marital affair claims, which emerged after a number of telephone calls apparently between Mr. Sokha and his lovers were leaked online.
“Brother, this ‘not answering’ and ‘not replying’ is not daring to face [the issue] due to fear,” Mr. Veasna said.
“He himself has a lot of women,” he said of Mr. Sokha. “The voice was already recorded, and he pretends like other people know nothing.”
Mr. Veasna, whose party has never won a seat in the National Assembly but holds a small number of commune council seats and a district council seat, also praised Prime Minister Hun Sen’s judgment of character over the years.
“At this point, he is good. Those whom he attacked before, it was because they were bad people,” he said. “I am fascinated with this kind of characteristic. I love it so much.”
Mr. Veasna was thrown out of the SRP over what the party deemed a slur on the royal family in June 2005, having accused the royal family of “drinking the citizens’ blood.”
The month before, he single-handedly broke a parliamentary boycott being carried out by the SRP to deny the governing CPP and Funcinpec lawmakers the then-requisite quorum of 87 lawmakers to pass laws. The SRP had been protesting the stripping of three of its members’ parliamentary immunity.
Ruling party spokesman Sok Eysan said on Sunday he was pleased to hear that Mr. Veasna—who has drawn rebuke from the CPP-aligned Buddhist hierarchy this year for his campaign against corruption within the monkhood—was praising Mr. Hun Sen.
“What Khem Veasna said is true and honest, mostly,” Mr. Eysan said, denying that the CPP and LDP were being overly nice to each other. “If he does not attack us, what benefit do we have to attack him?”
CNRP lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang said he would maintain his party’s “don’t answer” stance toward Mr. Veasna.
“This is useless,” he said. “What is important is that we are thinking about the election; we will not respond to things that are useless.”