Reform Party Again Delays Party Congress to April

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A group of Cambodia Reform Party members raise a sign bearing their party logo on December 20 in Kandal province. (Ou Chanrath’s Facebook page)
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The fledgling Cambodia Reform Party has once again delayed its party congress, which was scheduled for the third week of February, this time because their overseas members were unable to return because of the Omicron outbreak. 

The party — which is headed by former CNRP lawmakers Ou Chanrath and Pol Ham — was scheduled to have its congress in October, then shifted that date to January but postponed again due to difficulty booking a venue for the event.

Chanrath said Thursday the party was delaying its February congress because party members who were overseas had their flights canceled because of the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19. He said the party could hold its congress in April. 

“We are talking and could hold the [congress] before Khmer New Year,” he said. 

Chanrath said the party had in January been considering holding the event in Siem Reap, Takeo or Phnom Penh, but had found it hard to find a large enough venue to host party members. He also said that hotels were refusing to rent them space.

“They don’t give any reasons but just when we say we want to use it for a party congress, they won’t give it [to us],” he said.

He said this was political discrimination and went against Interior Minister Sar Kheng’s recent instruction for officials to cooperate with all parties in the run up to the June election. 

“The local officials seem not to pay attention to the directive or they don’t agree to follow or they don’t understand it,” Chanrath said. 

Despite the delays, the party was continuing its preparations for the June commune election, he said, and were preparing their list of candidates.

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