|Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak in 2016. Heng Chivoan|
Meas Sokchea, The Phnom Penh Post
Thu, 16 March 2017
Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak yesterday said the ministry was investigating the validity of a recently held CNRP congress to elect a new president, before then flatly stating that the opposition will never come to power.
The remarks came a day after his boss, Interior Minister Sar Kheng, said he was looking into whether the CNRP had violated its own bylaws in holding the March 2 congress, which saw Kem Sokha elected party president alongside three new deputies.
Kheng appeared to be referencing CNRP bylaws, changed ahead of the party vote, which previously required 18 months to pass before filling a presidential vacancy.
While affirming that the case was now being investigated, Sopheak, unprovoked, claimed that the CNRP did not have the capacity to run the country and that it wasn’t in their destiny to ever form a government.
“There is no occasion that the CNRP can rule Cambodia. There is no way that the CNRP can lead the country from now until 50 more years,” Sopheak said.
Reacting to Sopheak’s claim, CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann dismissed the statement, saying it would run the government if voted in by the people.
“We are not interested in what he said, but we want to know about free and just elections, so citizens can express their will,” Sovann said.
Political analyst Meas Ny yesterday said Sopheak should not have been commenting on who could form a government and leave that to the electorate, especially given that the CNRP has narrowed the seat tally in the National Assembly.