The legacy Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) has nominated Kun Lum Ang, wife of jailed senator Hong Sok Hour, to fill her husband’s seat, subject to approval by the Senate at a plenary session on Thursday.
“Hong Sok Hour has decided to resign as an SRP member to make way for his wife to fill the job,” SRP acting president Teav Vannol said on Tuesday.
Mr. Sok Hour was sentenced to seven years in prison in November for posting a fake border treaty between Vietnam and Cambodia on Facebook. The opposition has claimed the treaty merely contained a mistranslation.
Ms. Lum Ang, 58, is currently the head of the CNRP’s women’s movement department and was the fourth reserve candidate under Mr. Sok Hour when he was elected in 2012.
She could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Mr. Vannol said the other two candidates above Ms. Lum Ang were passed over because one is running the CNRP’s executive committee in Siem Reap province and the other defected to a different party, which Mr. Vannol declined to name.
He said the SRP, which merged with the Human Rights Party in 2012 to form the CNRP, was also considering replacing Thak Lany, an SRP senator who has been living abroad after being convicted of incitement and defamation in November. Prime Minister Hun Sen sued Ms. Lany alleging she made comments linking the premier to the July murder of political analyst Kem Ley.
The Senate has been called powerless and criticized for its lack of influence over laws and policy, though both ruling and opposition party officials declared their desire to control the body ahead of the June 4 commune elections. Most senators are elected every six years by commune councilors.
Senate spokesman Mam Bun Neang said the body—currently dominated by the CPP—would debate Ms. Lum Ang’s appointment, along with a new law on Senate elections passed last week by the National Assembly, at its Thursday session.
The spokesman said CPP senators had the right to block Ms. Lum Ang’s appointment, either from the Senate entirely or just from Mr. Sok Hour’s former position as the head of the body’s anti-corruption commission.
“You could ask them to support, but if they don’t support…you cannot force them,” he said.