Phnom Penh (FN), March 18 – Five more former opposition leaders of the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party sent letters to Ministry of Interior requesting to re-enter politics, Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak told Fresh News Monday afternoon.

The five includes Ou Chanroth; Tip Suthy; Kang Kimhak; Chiv Kata; and Chan Deilea.

Samdech Say Chhum, Acting Head of State and President of Senate, granted Real Khemarin the rights to re-enter politics, according to the royal decree Fresh received earlier Monday.

Real Khemarin, former lawmaker of the dissolved CNRP, sent letters to Minister of Interior Sar Kheng requesting to re-enter politics and create a new party, according to Khemarin's separate letters dated 14 March.

"I want to create a new party to race in the 2022-2023 election," Khemarin wrote in the letter.

The amended Article 45 of law on political party stipulated that “Individual whom the court banned from doing political activities could not create a new party, or participate in any other political parties, or be a candidate for others to vote, or do any activities to support or oppose other parties.

The law added that the banned individual will receive absolute rights to legally participate in political activities when banning expired as determined by the Supreme Court’s verdict, or in the case that individual has been rehabilitated by His Majesty King.

It is worth noting that 118 of former CNRP officials were banned from engaging in political activities for five years when the Supreme Court dissolved the CNRP on 16 November 2017 for “attempting to overthrow the government through a colour revolution”.

The amendment has so far allowed four former opposition members to re-enter politics, including former top advisor Kong Korm and lawmaker Kong Bora, rehabilitated on 15 January 2019; opposition member Sim Sovanny, known as Sim Vanny, rehabilitated on 2 March 2019; and this Monday, Khemarin has become the fourth to re-enter politics.

The rehabilitation is widely seen as the government’s move to strengthen democracy and political space.