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KPP appoints Sophorn to replace president

Soung Sophorn speaks to the press in Phnom Penh last month. Sophorn was officially named the party’s new president yesterday.
Soung Sophorn speaks to the press in Phnom Penh last month. Sophorn was officially named the party’s new president yesterday. Heng Chivoan

KPP appoints Sophorn to replace president

The Khmer Power Party yesterday held a congress to officially name Soung Sophorn as its new president following the conviction of its founder and former president, Sourn Serey Ratha, for allegedly demoralising the military during a flare-up in border tensions with Laos.

Sophorn has been acting president since Serey Ratha was charged and put in jail in August for criticising the government’s deployment of troops to the Laos border. The move to officially name Sophorn president was necessitated by recent changes to the Law on Political Parties that allow for the dissolution of parties led by convicted criminals.

Sophorn yesterday articulated a platform that included modest suggestions to place a deputy in charge of a “quick reaction unit”, to buy a car for party use and to hire an IT officer to create videos and slogans, as well as a more grandiose message of “hope” against “all suffering of the people” and a proposal for a border wall.

“We will request to the government to build a fence along the border, but if the government does not approve, I will lead the construction of the border wall, because I think the government should consider ending the conflict with neighbouring countries,” he added.

After Serey Ratha’s arrest, which followed a Facebook post criticising the military’s top brass, the Ministry of Interior informed the KPP that it needed to submit annual reports in accordance with the Political Parties Law. Sophorn said he would submit the reports today.

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