The Khmer National United Party will be dissolved if its leader, Nhek Bunn Chhay, refuses to resign from the position, an election official said.
Bun Chhay is facing charges of involvement in illegal drugs production and importation and under new rules governing the operations of political parties, the KNUP could be shut down if he is found guilty and remains in the party.
Hang Puthea, National Election Committee spokesman, said that if Bun Chhay was replaced as president the party would still be allowed to operate.
“Once the court issues its verdict, the Supreme Court will determine a sentence. Therefore, the procedures need to be followed in line with the amended law of political parties,” he said.
“Before the verdict comes out, the party might have a chance to replace its president to avoid dissolution.”
Under the amended law, parties could face being disbanded if they employ convicts in leadership positions.
Gen. Khieu Sopheak, an interior spokesman, said to avoid dissolution Bun Chhay needed to step down before sentencing. “If the party fires him, the sentence will not affect the party and they can choose a new president,” he said.
KNUP officials could not be reached for comment.
According to a court report, Bun Chhay is alleged to have been involved in a 2007 amphetamine business operating on land he owned.