Ex-CNRP lawmaker mulls launch of new political party

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Prominent former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker Ou Chanrath. Hong Menea

Prominent former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker Ou Chanrath said he is considering forming a new political party for the next national election.

Chanrath said he is weighing the idea because he believes former CNRP leaders would not be able to return to the party, which was dissolved by the Supreme Court in 2017. He said a new party would help strengthen democracy.

He told The Post on Monday he is working to gauge whether citizens are open to the idea and whether they will vote in the upcoming elections.

“If a large number of people want to vote, we will consider creating a political party to compete in the election. It’s been three years that we have been waiting for a solution, but there isn’t one,” he said.

Chanrath said he has met with international diplomats and has been told they will put in all efforts to facilitate negotiations between the ruling party and the opposition.

He said the only through taking part in elections and having a seat in the National Assembly can

a party protect citizens’ interests and defend territorial integrity.

“Until now, it has been three years and the EBA was also 20 per cent withdrawn,” he said, referring to the recent partial withdrawal of the EU’s Everything But Arms preferential trade scheme.

“There are only two ways forward, whether to take part in a genuine election or boycotting it like we have been doing. We have to study [the situation] and find an answer, but I believe that taking part in the election is necessary for democracy. If Cambodians understand the election is important and take part in it, I believe that it is a great thing,” he said.

He said if former CNRP leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha can return to politics without any pressure, he would join them. But he said such a possibility is minimal.

Political analyst Em Savannara said Chanrath is not capable of winning public support. He said Chanrath is also not strong enough to compete with the ruling party and his party’s fate may be no different from the other 19 parties that took part in the 2018 national election without winning a single seat.

Since the CNRP was dissolved, two political parties have been formed by its former lawmakers, including the Khmer Conservation Party and Cambodia National Love Party.

Chhim Kan, head of the NGO and political party registration department at the Ministry of Interior, said on Monday that 47 political parties have been registered with the ministry, including two new parties that are in process of completing the requirements.

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