King Norodom Sihamoni on February 15 issued a royal decree granting political rehabilitation to three former senior officials of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) – Chan Cheng, Ket Khy and Pot Pov.
Chheum Kan, deputy head of the Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Administration, told The Post on February 22 that until now, the King has granted political rights to 32 of the 118 former senior CNRP officials who were banned from politics in 2017.
Kan said some of the 32 had formed new political parties while others had joined existing ones according to their own personal values and views.
Four other former senior CNRP officials – Nhim Kim Nhol, Choung Chou Ngy, Chea Chiv and Ung Sovanna – were not considered for political rehabilitation as they had allegedly failed to respect the Supreme Court’s decision, he noted.
“We have not yet received letters requesting rehabilitation from any other former [CNRP] officials. If requests reach the ministry, we will review them and refer them to the King, who decides whether to issue royal decrees,” he said.
Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, noted that a series of requests for political rehabilitation by former senior CNRP officials had been made prior to the upcoming commune council elections.
Phea said they were politicians who lacked the rights to engage in politics following the dissolution and therefore needed to apply for rehabilitation to be able to serve the people through their political activities.
The fact that more former officials are requesting the right to re-engage in politics demonstrated two important things. Firstly, the political situation in the country is better. Second, it shows that the banned politicians are no longer heeding Sam Rainsy’s propaganda, he said.
“I think the overall assessment is that it is a good idea to re-apply for political rights, and those who have not yet applied should do so. They should not wait for a corpse to return to life, which is impossible,” he told The Post.