Kem Ley’s brother sets up political party in analyst’s name

Kem Rithisith (third left, yellow shirt) has announced the formation of a political party bearing the name of his brother, the slain political analyst Kem Ley. Fresh News
Kem Rithisith (third left, yellow shirt) has announced the formation of a political party bearing the name of his brother, the slain political analyst Kem Ley. Fresh News

Slain political commentator Kem Ley’s brother over the weekend announced the creation of a new political party called Kem Ley Party, a move that was quickly denounced by Ley’s widow, Bou Rachana.

Kem Rithisith, Ley’s brother, issued a statement on Saturday announcing the formation of the party to protect his brother’s legacy and ensure “extremists” do not use the late political commentator’s name for political gain. “This is to prevent some extremist groups, who have always used the name of Kem Ley to be the tool for political gain and to fulfil their everyday greed,” the statement reads.

The announcement comes days after Ley’s widow and five children relocated to Australia after being granted asylum. They left for Thailand shortly after Ley’s daylight murder in 2016 at a Caltex petrol station in Phnom Penh. It also follows the January registration of a Kem Ley foundation, for which Rithisith is listed as a board director.

Rithisith yesterday said he would not reveal who was using his brother’s name for political gain, but said he had already received condemnation for announcing the party. He has yet to formally register the party.

However, Ley’s widow, Rachana, said the party was antithetical to the views of her late husband – who despite helping to found the Grassroots Democracy Party chose to stay out of party politics – and she was not supportive of Rithisith using Ley’s name.

“I feel unhappy for my brother-in-law to form this party because my husband never had an idea to form a political party at all,” she said.