Sonando Receives Approval to File Political Party Application

Popular radio personality and government critic Mam Sonando’s plans to form a political party moved a step closer to fruition this week when the Interior Ministry gave him the green light to file his application, according to one of his associates.

Heang Rithy, who hopes to become the party’s vice president, said the ministry acknowledged receipt of Mr. Sonando’s application to form the Beehive Social Democratic Party—named after his radio station, Beehive Radio—on Tuesday.

“The Ministry of Interior agreed to let us apply for a party, but we need to apply with more documents,” he said Wednesday. “To become valid, the Beehive Social Democratic Party has to complete documents and conditions, as it says in Chapter 5, Article 20, of the Law on Political Parties.”

Article 20 lays out an 11-point list of conditions a prospective party must include in its application, including its rules, statutes and platform, and the names and thumbprints of at least 4,000 members.

Mr. Rithy said they would have planned to file their paperwork with the ministry by month’s end.

“The Beehive Social Democratic Party has sufficient human resources and millions of people inside and outside the country,” he said.

Though often a fierce critic of the ruling CPP, Mr. Sonando has said that he wanted to create a party of his own because the opposition CNRP had grown too friendly with the government.

Officials at the Interior Ministry could not be reached Wednesday.

Also hoping to add to the political field is Sam Inn, a former NGO director who plans to make his initial request to register the Grassroots Democracy Party early next month.

Mr. Inn said his political ambitions grew out of the Khmer for Khmer collective established last year by political commentator Kem Ley to foster grassroots activism around the country.

“We respect democracy, we respect the majority opinion, and we do not appoint people [to leadership] like other parties,” he said.

Mr. Ley said he gave Mr. Inn the idea to form the party, but had no political ambitions of his own.

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