Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Candlelight Party denies any Rainsy link, vows fealty to King

Candlelight Party denies any Rainsy link, vows fealty to King

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Candlelight (CP) spokesman Thach Setha speaks at a recent party meeting. PHOTO SUPPLIED Heng Chivoan

Candlelight Party denies any Rainsy link, vows fealty to King

The Candlelight Party (CP) has issued a statement condemning any individuals who intentionally insult the King, while denying having any relationship with former opposition leader Sam Rainsy.

The statement came a day after Prime Minister Hun Sen urged the CP leadership to clarify their position on the comments made by Rainsy, the former president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) who most recently likened King Norodom Sihamoni to a “traitor”.

“We respect the role of the King as stipulated in the Constitution, which is the supreme law of Cambodia. We condemn any individuals who have the intent to insult or abuse the King or violate the Kingdom’s constitutional monarchy, which is protected by the Constitution,” the statement read.

“We dispute any allegations of any form of relationship between the Candlelight Party and Sam Rainsy,” it added.

It said the party has consistently respected and followed the Constitution, the law on political parties, any other laws in force and the political party statutes as prescribed by the Ministry of Interior.

The CP’s actions and decision making is in line with the aforementioned laws and regulations and not influenced, directly or indirectly, by any other individual or political entity, it added, while also appealing to all citizens who have not yet registered to vote to do so before the December 8 deadline.

On October 25, Hun Sen appealed to all citizens including monks to distance themselves from Rainsy, who he said insulted the King by calling him a “traitor” who does “not have a bit of conscience”.

CP spokesman Thach Setha could not be reached for comment on October 27. But a day earlier, he told The Post that his party was registered with the interior ministry and has carried out all of its political activities in accordance with the law. The party did not receive orders from anyone and made its own decisions, he stressed.

Hun Sen welcomed the CP’s statement.

“I admire and thank the leadership of the Candlelight Party for issuing the statement condemning anyone who has the intent to insult the King, as per my October 26 request,” he said in a social media post.

Yang Kim Eng, president of the People’s Centre for Development and Peace, told The Post that the King is independent of political parties. He likened politicians to the King’s children, whether they support him or not.

Citing the Constitution, he said no one could influence the King.

“Politicians may quarrel among themselves, and use all of the rhetoric they wish, but they cannot insult the King. The King is highly revered and remains above political games.

“The King unites the nation and guarantees national independence and territorial integrity. Generally, when politicians have disagreements that they cannot solve, they would approach the King in order for him to broker a compromise,” he said.

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