Cambodia mulls restoring opposition’s political rights
Cambodia’s one-party parliament is considering a proposal to lift a ban on participation in politics by 118 former opposition politicians, imposed ahead of last July’s general election, its chief administrative official said Monday.
Leng Penglong, secretary general of the 125-member National Assembly, said 87 lawmakers have signed a petition proposing to amend the Law on Political Parties so that “individuals who have been banned from political activities can be reinstated with full rights” by the king upon the request of the prime minister.
In November last year, the Cambodia National Rescue Party, which was the country’s only opposition party, was forcibly dissolved and 118 of its politicians were banned from politics for five years, including party leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha.
The dissolution was widely regarded as being aimed at eliminating any viable opposition ahead of the general election.
The proposal is likely intended to ease international pressure on Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Cambodian People’s Party, especially from the European Union.
Meanwhile, Sam Rainsy was reportedly appointed as head of the Cambodian National Rescue Movement at a conference held in Atlanta, Georgia, over the weekend. The event was boycotted by supporters of Kem Sokha.