Candlelight Party Caves in After Legal Threat

This photo shows top leaders of Candlelight Party during a ceremony. Photo: Candlelight Party

PHNOM PENH – The Candlelight Party has bowed to pressure in its conflict with the ruling Cambodian People’s Party and has sought reconciliation.

The Candlelight Party removed from its Facebook page a statement saying it was being oppressed and persecuted by the CPP, citing the arrest of its vice chairman Thach Setha on fraud charges.

The statement was removed on Jan 20, a day after Prime Minister Hun Sen threatened legal action.

On Jan 19, the CPP retaliated with its own statement saying the Candlelight Party had seriously affected its dignity.

"The CPP will do everything according to the law to protect itself from being abused," the CPP said. Its supporters in public institutions issued petitions backing the CPP statement.

The Candlelight Party issued a new statement on Jan 20 saying the Cambodian People's Party statement confirmed the purity and dignity of this long-ruling party.

"The Candlelight Party supports the CPP's position to strengthen the political environment in the best possible way to ensure that the 2023 election is free and fair," the statement said. 

CPP spokesperson Sok Eysan said he could not accept the Candlelight Party statement because it was not the public apology the CPP wanted.

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