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PM Prepares to Sue Candlelight Party Official

PHNOM PENH: Prime Minister Hun Sen accepted a statement from the Candlelight Party, who denied involvement in and responsibility for the statements made by the party’s senior official Chea Poch on May 14.

The Candlelight Party issued a statement yesterday claiming that the party always respects the rights and decisions of party officials at all levels, and did not believe authorities were coerced or forced to take action against their will.

The Candlelight Party affirmed that it adheres to the principles of non-violence and peace in political activities in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the laws in place, especially the ones concerning political parties.

The statement also reaffirmed the party’s strong desire to participate in the upcoming 2023 general elections. The party stated that despite being rejected by the National Election Committee, they are still pursuing legal action through the Constitutional Council to obtain the right to participate in the election, which will take place on July 23, 2023.

The Prime Minister accepted the Candlelight Party’s explanation, saying that he did not wish to draw out the story any longer. He emphasized that he would not, however, extend the same grace to senior official Chea Poch, whom he accused of discussing overthrowing the PM in Telegram messages which he intercepted. Poch refuted the allegations, saying that he only pushed for defeating the leading CPP through “free, fair and just elections.” He went on to apologize for any harm his words may have caused the Prime Minister, but his apology was rejected. The PM has asked his lawyer to prepare to sue Chea Poch legally while giving Poch until May 30 to respond.

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