Five former officials from Cambodia’s banned opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party on Monday defended their decision to seek political rehabilitation with the government, saying they were trying to keep the country’s trade privileges from being withdrawn by Western countries over anti-democratic actions by Prime Minister Hun Sen.
The five former senior CNRP officials, who applied for rehabilitation on March 18 and received it a day later, had come under fire from the party and the public, even receiving accusations that they received money from the government for defying party policy.
CNRP President Kem Sokha was arrested in September 2017 for alleged acts of “treason” and the Supreme Court ordered the party’s dissolution two months later, which paved the way for Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodia People’s Party (CPP) to win all 125 seats in parliament in a July 2018 general election.
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