To date, 29 out of 118 senior officials of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have received political rehabilitation from King Norodom Sihamoni.
Chhim Kan, deputy head of the Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Administration, told The Post on January 28 that some of the rehabilitated officials had gone on to form new political parties, while some had rejoined political life by becoming members of existing ones.
He said that others are sure to ask for the right to re-engage in politics, and that the ministry will review their requests.
“I cannot say what the result of the reviews will be, but if a proposal is offered, we will certainly investigate it,” he said.
King Sihamoni on January 25 issued a royal decree ordering the rehabilitation of Prak Yi Kan, a former senior CNRP official, who was prohibited from engaging in political activity for 5 years by virtue of judgment No. 340 dated November 16, 2017, in the Supreme Court.
Yong Pov, a professor of political science at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, told The Post that several senior former CNRP officials have applied for political rehabilitation, despite the fast approaching date of the 2022 5th commune council election mandate.
Pov said that the applying for the return of political rights is something that anyone can do, even though the timing may seem too close to the next election.
“Although the Commune Council election is approaching, there will be another parliamentary election in 2023,” he said. “This is a time when all people are free to choose their own paths.”
According to Pov, waiting for the CNRP to be revived at the request of people living abroad is foolish, because the party has been permanently dissolved by law and by a ruling of the Supreme Court.
In November 2017, 118 senior ex-CNRP officials were been banned from participating in political activities for five years after the Supreme Court ruled to dissolve the CNRP for an allegedly attempting to overthrow the government through colour revolution.