Technicality Delays Kem Sokha’s Political Plans

The newly formed and controversially named Human Rights Par­ty will have to postpone its first party con­gress because it has not yet been registered with the In­ter­i­or Ministry, party leader Kem So­kha said Thurs­day.

Kem Sokha, who recently left his position as president of the Cam­bodian Center for Human Rights to found his own political party, said that he intended to hold the congress on July 7 at Olym­pic Stadium in Phnom Penh.

His request to rent out the facility was denied, he said, because the party was not yet fully register­ed with the Interior Ministry.

For a party to register with the min­istry they must submit the thumbprints of at least 4,000 supporters with their paperwork. Kem Sokha said that the ministry has re­jected around 2,000 of the thumb­prints his party handed in.

“We are sad to see the congress is delayed,” he said, adding that another two thousand thumb­prints have been sent to the mini­stry to correct the problem.

Lay Voharith, director of the In­terior Ministry’s Political Affairs Department, confirmed that the ministry had rejected around 2,000 of the Human Rights party’s thumb­prints because there was no mention of the location where the prints were collected.

His department is currently re­viewing the new thumbprints sent in by the party, Lay Voharith said.

“We are checking the thumb­prints, everything is good so far,” he said, adding that the review would be completed soon.

Lay Voharith said that the issue was strictly a technical one, add­ing that the ministry has no desire to keep Kem Sokha’s party from forming. “It is against the law to prevent a party,” he said. “If we have 4,000 thumbprints, we will allow the party to work.”

Mar Sophal, monitoring coordinator for the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said that it was un­likely that the ruling CPP would try to block the formation of the Human Rights Party be­cause the fledgling party will only help split the opposition vote.


Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA new weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.