Cambodian parliament passes “Anti-Rainsy” law

The Cambodian parliament on Monday swiftly passed controversial law amendments that ban former opposition leader Sam Rainsy from the political arena and from bolstering the opposition’s position ahead of next year’s elections, according to a report in The Phnom Penh Post Online on Tuesday.

The amendments to the Political Parties law are the second round of changes this year after an earlier amendment that forced Rainsy to resign as president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party to avoid the possible dissolution of the party.

Rainsy on Monday branded the amendments “Anti-Sam Rainsy Law”.  “I am honoured to be Hun Sen’s constant obsession,” he said as he urged the prime minister to push for the adoption of really useful laws aimed at putting things right in a country that is just “upside down”.

He also suggested that there were “millions of Sam Rainsys” in the Cambodian citizens who yearn for freedom and justice and claimed he had attained near-mythological status.

The National Assembly spent less than an hour of debate to pass the controversial amendments with 66 votes though Hun Sen and Interior Minister Sar Kheng were conspicuously absent from the session.  The CNRP which holds 55 seats boycotted the session.

CNRP deputy president Mu Sochua defended the party’s decision to boycott the session.  “It is the same questioned asked every time we decided not to be there.  Would there be a true democratic debate?”  she said in an e-mail as she doubted the law would have its intended effect.

The amendments ban parties from “using the voice, image, written documents or activities of a convicted criminal…for the interest of theparty, and from accepting or conspiring with a convicted criminal to do activities in the interest of the party.

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