To avoid the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) being paralyzed at the leadership level after being arbitrarily dissolved by the Phnom Penh authorities, and with its President Kem Sokha being held under house arrest, the vast majority of the party’s officials and activists who can be contacted and accept to publicly express their will, have designated Sam Rainsy as Acting President, effective December 9, 2018.
Sam Rainsy, co-founder and former President of the CNRP, is the only person who has the historic and popular legitimacy to lead the CNRP during a transition period which will end at the moment when President Kem Sokha has his full freedom restored and is personally able to express himself in public.
The process of appointing Sam Rainsy began with the CNRP World Conference in Atlanta, US, which met on December 1 and 2, 2018, and was attended by more than 400 representatives of overseas branches of the CNRP. The process was concluded by a large public meeting in Paris on December 15, 2018, which drew more than 600 CNRP leaders, activists and supporters from around the world including elected grassroots officials and youth leaders from Cambodia who joined the meeting through Skype.
At Atlanta the participants unanimously adopted a 10-point resolution and forwarded it to the CNRP Permanent Committee for consultation. The resolution details a concrete plan to ensure a strong leadership for the CNRP in order for the party to more effectively fight for the release of President Kem Sokha and to preserve the hope of the Cambodian people who aspire for positive change. Unfortunately, the Permanent Committee, whose members in Cambodia live in fear while others are in hiding, has been unable to meet. In such an atmosphere of fear and intimidation reflecting a state of emergency, the party bylaws cannot be implemented since it would be impossible to convene a party Congress or any meeting of the Steering Committee or Permanent Committee. Notwithstanding these constraints we do not want to see the party paralyzed and have to take a decisive initiative to make the party move forward.
The two meetings in Atlanta and Paris – the first for the nomination and the second for the confirmation of an Acting President – constitute the most open and realistic process of consultation and decision-making that is possible under current conditions, to allow the CNRP to have a clear and strong leadership capable of realising the objective of the party, namely the restoration of democracy in Cambodia.
CNRP Vice President
Eng Chhai Eang
CNRP Vice President
Note: The third CNRP Vice President Pol Ham is currently in Cambodia and unable to publicly express his will.