Cambodia Government Forces Opposition to Take Down Campaign Material

Authorities in Cambodia have ordered an opposition party to remove its signage from a public road, sparking accusations of political bias in favor of the Cambodian People’s Party whose leader Hun Sen has ruled Cambodia for more than 35 years.

Sou Yean, a former member of the now-banned Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) and was recently released from prison, said he has refused orders from authorities in Tboung Khmum’s Dambaer district to take down his Candlelight Party signage.

“All political parties have equal rights,” Sou Yean said.

Provincial deputy governor Keng Bunna denied accusations of political bias in ordering the signage’s removal, saying its placement at the side of a public road had led to complaints from villagers living nearby.

“Even though the sign was put up in a public space, it might interfere with traffic,” Keng Bunna said.

“They need to coordinate this with the authorities so we can make sure their signs don’t affect the flow of traffic. We don’t restrict the activities of any political parties,” Keng Bunna added.

The Candlelight Party was formerly known as the Sam Rainsy Party, whose leader merged the group with other opposition forces to form the CNRP, which was dissolved in 2017, and paved the way for Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party to win all 125 seats in Parliament in a July 2018 election.

Kem Sokha, the president of the CNRP, was arrested two months ago and was due to face trial on treason charges this month.

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