Trick or real? CNRP split over Cambodia move to ease politics ban

Self-exiled co-founder calls government decision a political maneuver but others see it as sign of genuine improvement.

A move by Cambodia’s single-party parliament to allow banned politicians to potentially return to politics has further stoked divisions in the country’s fractured opposition, with some welcoming the development and others dismissing it as a political gambit.

The National Assembly on Thursday easily passed an amendment to the Law on Political Parties, paving the way for opposition figures from the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) to apply for the lifting of a five-year ban to regain their political rights.

CNRP co-founder Sam Rainsy told Al Jazeera the move is just a “trick” by the government meant to avoid international sanctions, claiming that only party officials willing to “sell their souls to [Prime Minister] Hun Sen for privileges and positions” would be willing to return.

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