Former members of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) and other activists on Thursday announced the formation of a new political party called the Cambodian Nation Love Party (CNLP) to continue the CNRP’s legacy and participate in future elections.
One of the party’s founders, Tin Tan, said at a press conference that they decided to form the party after receiving numerous requests from activists of the former CNRP, fellow countrymen and pro-democracy supporters.
“We are of the view that the current political situation is worsening with the government devoid of a serious opposition voice. There is a divide among those that advocate for democracy and we intend to unite them,” said Tin.
In a statement, the party said it aims to maintain CNRP’s principles – to form a new political culture, bring the citizens together, facilitate reconciliation and advocate democratic principles.
Another founder, Kheuy Sinoeun, said a request was submitted to the Ministry of Interior on Thursday to form the party. He assured that the party will adhere to the procedures the ministry requires.
He noted that although the CNLP is yet to have a clear structure, former lawmaker Chiv Cata is temporarily standing in as the party’s chairman.
Sinouen also urged the government to restore the Kingdom’s democratic space by releasing political and human rights activists and dropping the charges against former CNRP president Kem Sokha.
“I [also] implore the EU to carefully reconsider their decision to withdraw EBA so it could continue to benefit millions of Cambodians,” he said.
Cata said the party receives financial support from the founders. But he hoped to receive funding from the public and other activists, in the same way the former CNRP received such support.
At present, there are more than 40 political parties registered with the Ministry of Interior but only the ruling Cambodian People’s Party managed to take hold of all seats in the National Assembly during the 2018 national elections.
Political analyst Em Sovannara said on Thursday that the new party may not get public support.
“I think they will not get support from the people because when the CNRP was absent from the election, we saw 19 parties compete with the Cambodian People’s Party, but none of them won a seat at the National Assembly.
“This means that people don’t vote for parties which they deem untrustworthy,” he said.
Despite this, he said the formation of a new party may please the ruling party as it would add to the Kingdom’s multi-party status.