Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday slammed a call by a former leader of the now-dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) for voters to boycott the country’s upcoming general ballot, saying that it was a violation of electoral law. Earlier, former CNRP President Sam Rainsy, who is living in self-imposed exile to avoid a string of convictions widely seen as politically motivated, reiterated a call he made last week, urging Cambodia’s voters to boycott the July 29 elections if the party is not allowed to participate. In a four-minute video posted on his Facebook page on Friday, Sam Rainsy said that the CNRP, which was dissolved by the Supreme Court in November for its alleged role in a plot to topple Hun Sen’s government, is the only party fighting for democratic change in Cambodia, and that CNRP supporters and activists should stay away from the polls to refrain from legitimizing the election.
Hun Sen responded with a Facebook post of his own, saying that 21 political parties are in the process of registering for the election, and stressing the importance of voting in the polls, which he called the right of every citizen of a “multi-party liberal democracy.”
“Propagandizing citizens against voting violates the laws of the country, as stated in Article 142” of Cambodia’s Criminal Code, he added, without providing additional details.