Gov’t pro­poses law to al­low the banned back in pol­i­tics

The Phnom Penh Post - - FRONT PAGE - Mech Dara

APROPOSED amend­ment to Ar­ti­cle 45 of the Law on Po­lit­i­cal Par­ties seeks to al­low in­di­vid­u­als barred by the courts to re-en­ter pol­i­tics be­fore the term of their ban is com­plete if they re­ceive a con­ces­sion from King Norodom Si­ha­moni.

The pro­posed amend­ment to the law, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from the Gen­eral Sec­re­tariat of the Na­tional Assem­bly on Wed­nes­day, will al­low Min­is­ter of In­te­rior Sar Kheng to pe­ti­tion Prime Min­is­ter Hun Sen to re­quest the King for such per­mis­sion.

A sec­ond gov­ern­ment state­ment re­leased on Wed­nes­day by the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs, mean­while, said the Na­tional Assem­bly is re­view­ing le­gal pro­vi­sions to en­able the 118 for­mer CNRP of­fi­cials banned from pol­i­tics to re­sume their po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties.

Leng Peng Long, gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Na­tional Assem­bly, said 87 law­mak­ers are propos­ing the Ar­ti­cle 45 amend­ment, “which aims to strengthen democ­racy, the rule of law and en­hance the spirit of na­tional unity”.

This pro­posed amend­ment to the law has as its pur­pose the care of those who have been banned from pol­i­tics, Peng Long said.

Those who have been banned will be able to have the right to re-en­ter pol­i­tics af­ter the Prime Min­is­ter, fol­low­ing a re­quest from the Min­is­ter of In­te­rior, makes a re­quest to the King to re­ha­bil­i­tate them.

“We think that the law also has some loop­holes as it fails to con­sider them.”

Peng Long added that the Per­ma­nent Com­mit­tee of the Na­tional Assem­bly will send the draft law to its ex­perts for ex­am­i­na­tion. The per­ma­nent com­mit­tee will then sub­mit it to the Na­tional Assem­bly for ap­proval.

He did not give a time­frame for the process.

The pro­posed amend­ment could pave the way for for­mer lead­ers of the CNRP) to re-en­ter pol­i­tics.

On Novem­ber 16 last year, the Supreme Court dis­solved the CNRP for “at­tempt­ing to over­throw the gov­ern­ment through a colour revo­lu­tion”, while 118 of its se­nior mem­bers were

banned from en­gag­ing in po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv ities for five years.

A gov­ern­ment state­ment on “Fu­ture Steps to Strengthen Democ­racy and the Po­lit­i­cal Space” re­leased by the Min­istr y of For­eign Af­fairs on Wed­nes­day said the Na­tional Assem­bly is re­view­ing le­gal pro­vi­sions to en­able the 118 for­mer CNRP of­fi­cials banned from pol­i­tics to re­sume their po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv ities.

“In or­der to fur­ther pro­mote democ­racy and the rule of law, the Na­tional Assem­bly is re­view­ing le­gal pro­vi­sions to en­able in­di­vid­u­als who were banned from pol­i­tics to re­sume their po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv ities,” the state­ment read.

It is one of five points out­lined in the state­ment aimed at keep­ing and pro­tect­ing the achieve­ments of the gov­ern­ment and to pro­mote the po­lit­i­cal and demo­cratic space and al­low ci­ti­zens to prac­tice le­gal free­doms in the spirit of na­tional rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.

The state­ment also men­tioned changes to the govern- ment’s part­ner­ship with civil so­ci­ety and high­lighted the re­moval the re­quire­ment that NGOs no­tif y lo­cal author­i­ties three days in ad­vance of their planned ac­tiv­i­ties and hold fo­rums with them.

The gov­ern­ment said it had al­ways pro­moted free­dom of the press and free speech, but there had been com­plaints that those free­doms were be­ing re­stricted, no­tably re­gard­ing the is­sues of the shut­tered news­pa­per the Cam­bo­dia Daily and ra­dio sta­tions Ra­dio Free Asia and Voice of Amer­ica – com­plaints it wished to ad­dress.

The state­ment cont in­ued t hat t he Cam­bo­dia Daily closed its op­erat ions vol­unta r i ly a f ter fa i l i ng to pay ta x.

“In the event that such li­a­bil­i­ties are le­gally met, the news­pa­per [ Cam­bo­dia Daily] can re­sume its op­er­a­tions,” it stated, adding that the clo­sures of the VOA and RFA of­fices were self-ini­ti­ated and that the t wo ra­dio sta­tions are free to re­open their of­fices in Cam­bo­dia.

SUPPLIED

Mu Sochua is one of 118 for­mer Cam­bo­dia Na­tional Res­cue Party of­fi­cials cur­rently banned from pol­i­tics.

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