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Sam Rainsy Accused of Dirty Tricks by Kem Sokha’s Chief of Staff

PHNOM PENH: Kem Sokha's chief of staff, Muth Chantha, has accused the Candlelight Party of having Sam Rainsy being behind it and walking away from the former CNRP's political alliance, calling it a "trick to stab his partner in the back”.

Muth Chantha's remarks come after the Candlelight Party, formerly the Sam Rainsy Party led by him from November 1998 to 2012, announced the party's congress for 27 November 2021. The agenda includes “amending some of the articles of the party statute, organizing the election of the party leadership of the new mandate and determining the party's political strategy."

Muth Chantha wrote on his Facebook page that the Candlelight Party and the Human Rights Party had merged the structure and core forces at the national and local level to form the CNRP in July 2012. He added that in order to show loyalty to his ally, the Human Rights Party, a party founded by Kem Sokha, he agreed to dissolve in January 2018 but was not allowed to by the Ministry of Interior.

He added: "We have noticed that the position of the Candlelight Party and the Human Rights Party are completely different, with the Human Rights Party presenting its official position requesting the dissolution of the party and deleting it from the list of the Ministry of Interior. Candlelight has tried to re-launch the party through two attempts to hold an extraordinary congress, the first scheduled for 22 August 2021 and the second scheduled for 27 August.”

Muth Chantha said that although Sam Rainsy is not the current president of the Candlelight Party, it is hard to believe that the party does not have Sam Rainsy behind it. He stated that if the Candlelight Party decides to participate in the upcoming election, it is certain that Sam Rainsy is behind it, as are Eng Chhay Eang and Yim Sovann, both of whom control the strength and structure of the former Sam Rainsy Party, the CNRP.

He said: "The Candlelight Party has decided to walk away from the political alliance in the former CNRP, which Sam Rainsy remembered that the coalition of the Candlelight Party (formerly the Sam Rainsy Party) and the Human Rights Party is still strong, and he even formed. Adopt the slogan: "Sam Rainsy - Kem Sokha is the same person." This is the trick of your partner stabbing you from behind.

The Vice President of the Candlelight Party, Mr. Chep Kim Eang, told EAC News that the congress of the Candlelight Party at the end of November is in accordance with the party's rules, which require a congress every three years. He dismissed Muth Chantha's allegations, stating that the Candlelight Party was not affiliated with the former CNRP and that the Candlelight Party was now not affiliated with Sam Rainsy either. He said: "You can just state anything, but the truth is not like that". Regarding the participation in the upcoming commune elections in 2022, Chep Kim Eang has not been able to confirm yet, waiting for the party congress at the end of November.

Social analyst Dr. Meas Ny says he understands that it is common for politicians to make such accusations, but he believes that holding a congress of the Candlelight Party is the party's political right and should not be attacked. He says, "Of course, when it comes to opening a party, I still hold from the beginning that it is the right of each party, but maybe the extremist politicians see differently from me. If that's strange, then it’s not for me. Every day I have seen them argue about one thing: “why don’t you create a new party” and the other group say `` why don’t you just leave?”

After the 2012 Commune Elections, the Sam Rainsy Party and the Human Rights Party, led by Kem Sokha, merged to form the CNRP to run in the 2013 parliamentary elections. However, after the CNRP was dissolved by the Supreme Court, the party alliance split and formed a series of parties to run in the upcoming elections, while the original party was the Candlelight Party (formerly the Sam Rainsy Party).

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