PHNOM PENH —
Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered the drafting of a proposal that could see a ban on people with criminal records leading political parties.
The move comes amid numerous court cases launched by ruling Cambodian People’s Party officials against members of the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party, which are widely thought to be politically motivated.
Breaking the new rule would lead to the party in question being dissolved.
Speaking last week, he said: “the president or the vice president of any political parties who are prisoners or offenders can no longer be elected as the president or the vice president”.
He added that the revised law on political parties would be modeled on a now-defunct Thai law of the same ilk.
Sok Eysan, CPP spokesman, said the party had begun the process of writing the draft law.
Sam Rainsy, president of the CNRP, and Kem Sokha, its deputy, have faced numerous charges ranging from defamation to incitement.
More than a dozen other opposition members and supporters have been jailed on questionable charges since the disputed 2013 election.
Yoeung Sotheara, legal officer at election monitoring group Comfrel, said the amendment would undermine national security ahead of the next general election in 2018.
“The government should propose an amendment on financial management of each party and an amendment restraining the authorities and judiciary from getting involved in political parties’ activities, rather than to dissolve the opposition party,” he said.