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Cambodia PM threatens Candle Light Party leaders with jail, if they demonstrate against the NEC

Soth Koemsoeun / Khmer Times Mon, May 15, 2023

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CP President Teav Vannol (C) leads a meeting on Friday to review the current political situation in Cambodia at the party’s headquarters. CP

PHNOM PENH – Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen warned supporters and leaders of the Candlelight Party (CP) they could face imprisonment if they dare to stage demonstrations against the National Election Committee (NEC).

Mr Hun Sen deemed the CP’s threat to hold a non-violent demonstration against the NEC as repressive and it would cause instability.

He ordered the authorities and the police, especially the armed forces everywhere, not to fogive any supporters or leaders of the party who dared to protest.

The CP’s demonstrations would undermine public order, safety and social stability as Cambodia is hosting the 32nd SEA Games, Mr Hun Sen said.

He also ordered prisons officials  to prepare a place to jail CP leaders, if they gather to protest.

“Please, supporters and other leaders of the CP, do not be deceived and go to jail or die for a few leaders of this party.”

“I urge all the people to not join the protests with those CP leaders because the authorities nationwide, will not to allow rallies that provoke public disorder,” Mr Hun Sen added.

His warning to the CP leaders and their activists, comes after the party  had threatened on Friday that they would rally leaders, members, activists and supporters across the country to hold a peaceful advocacy demonstrations on Saturday, if the NEC refuses to register the CP to run in the upcoming July National Election.

The CP on Saturday sent three more additions to supplement the documents submitted to the NEC last weekend, which the NEC claimed were insufficient under the election law.

The NEC asked the CP to submit three additional documents; first, a copy of the original party registration, No. 193 dated 1998, for recognition as a legitimate party at the Ministry of Interior; second, withdrawal of Rong Chhun from the list of candidates for the National Assembly; and third, a receipt for payment of 15 million Riels from the National Treasury.

CP spokesman Kimsour Phirith could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Phirith was quoted yesterday by Radio Free Asia (RFA) that the leaders of the party would meet to express their opinions peacefully, and the party would ask for the law to do the same.

“If the authorities do not allow us to rally, the leaders of the party will find another solution,” he said.

General Khieu Sopheak, Ministry of Interior spokesman, said yesterday that the Ministry and other armed forces have already received recommendations from the Prime Minister, noting that “it is the order of the government, so all the authorities are ready”.

“Our authorities are ready to prevent anarchic movements. We are monitoring the situation to prevent all illegal activities,” he said.

Meanwhile, CP party president Teav Vannol submitted a letter to Mr Hun Sen. The letter states that the CP want to meet with Mr Hun Sen to celebrate the 32nd SEA Games, which Cambodia is hosting.

Mr Hun Sen announced on his Telegram yesterday that he would allow CP leaders to pay a courtesy call on him on July 30, at the Peace Palace, after the national election.

“Today (Saturday), I received a message threatening to cause unrest across the country, under the pretext of advocacy, via a press release from the CP and Rong Chhun. I also received a letter from the President of the CP asking for a courtesy call, with a delegation led by Chea Poch (CP lawmaker candidate for Kampot Constituency).

“What do CP really want because they send such a confusing message? Cause unrest before the election? Destroy the election? Boycott the election and blame the NEC or the Constitutional Council.”

“In case both institutions refuse to register CP, it is the party’s own fault.”

“For the letter of appointment, signed by Chea Poch, a person who threatened to overthrow me more than two months ago, I also want an explanation from him how does he intend to overthrow Hun Sen?”

“Due to the uncertainty and because I am busy, I would like to set a 9 o’clock meeting on July 30 at the Peace Palace to meet CP, after the national election,” Mr Hun Sen added

SOUrcE: Khmer Times, Cambodia Mon, May 15, 2023

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