Short on Funds, CNRP Finds Make-Do Solution for Signs

Until the CNRP scrapes together enough money to replace its soon-to-be-outlawed party signs, local-level officials have resorted to scissors and paint to alter the images on thousands of promotional billboards across the country.

The opposition party has removed “100 percent” of the images of current president Kem Sokha and former president Sam Rainsy, in compliance with last month’s party law amendments forbidding political parties from “conspiring” with convicted criminals or using their likenesses in promotional material, CNRP lawmaker Ou Chanrath said.

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Only the clasped hands remain of former and current CNRP presidents Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha on the opposition party’s poster in Sen Monorom City, Mondolkiri province, last week. (Phan Soumy/The Cambodia Daily)

Without enough funds to purchase new signboards, CNRP posters in some parts of the country bear jagged-edged cutouts or spray-painted stains where Mr. Sokha and Mr. Rainsy once stood hand-in-hand.

The party law amendment, passed last month, forced the CNRP to remove all online and street images of Mr. Rainsy, who faces a slew of legal charges thought to be politically motivated.

“We have no choice because the National Assembly already approved it,” Mr. Chanrath said. “This is the intention of the ruling party, we have no other means.”

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann previously said it would cost between $300,000 and $500,000 to replace the tens of thousands of signs spread throughout Cambodia.

Mr. Chanrath said the party is pleading with supporters to help fund the replacements, which were required by late October.

“We are appealing for donations from the general public and generous people inside and outside the country, because it will cost a lot of money,” he said.

CNRP lawmaker and general treasurer Ky Wandara said he believed they would be able to raise enough to replace all the posters by the end of next month.

The party’s provincial officials would be able to finish the job in one week, if they had enough money to cover the cost, he added.

While the opposition activists scrambled to adjust their signs, CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said the majority party would make no moves to add more posters, which he added are fully compliant with the new amendments that were unanimously passed in the face of a Senate boycott.

“Our principle is still the same,” Mr. Eysan said. “CPP won’t need to flip-flop.”

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