Cambodia’s parliament on Monday amended the law to ban people from associating with anyone convicted of a criminal offense, a move the opposition says aims to hobble rivals of Prime Minister Hun Sen ahead of a general election next year. Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) voted to change the election law to ban political parties from engaging with such individuals, who also face bans on participating in politics through images, audio recordings and writing. Political parties which violate the law face a five-year suspension or could be dissolved. The amendment effectively bans former opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who lives in exile in France to avoid arrest in a number of convictions, from campaigning from abroad for the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).
The opposition CNRP boycotted Monday’s National Assembly vote, calling the changes illegal. “The proposed law is politically motivated and is a political pressure on individual rights, the party and on rivals,” the CNRP said in a statement.
The ruling CPP denied the changes were a bid to rein in the opposition.
“These amendments are aimed at promoting the rule of law … and strongly respect multi-party democracy,” CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap told parliament before all 66 lawmakers present voted to back the changes.
Full Article: Cambodia changes election law ahead of 2018 vote | Reuters.