PHNOM PENH, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Kem Sokha, vice president of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), was promoted to the acting president on Sunday after the self-exiled incumbent, Sam Rainsy resigned, a party's spokesman said.
"The party's board of directors accepted Sam Rainsy's resignation from the position of the president and member of the CNRP and promoted party's vice president Kem Sokha to the acting president from now on," the CNRP's spokesman, Yim Sovann told reporters after an urgent meeting of the party's board of directors.
He said the CNRP would hold its congress to choose the new president before April 7, 2018.
Political analysts foresaw that the party's two prominent candidates -- Kem Sokha and Sam Rainsy's wife Tioulong Saumura -- could compete for the position of the party's new president.
Saumura, 66, is currently serving as a party's permanent committee member and a member of parliament for Phnom Penh.
Rainsy announced his resignation from the presidency and membership of the CNRP on Saturday due to "personal reasons". He has been living in exile in France since November 2015 to avoid a two-year prison sentence over a defamation charge.
In December 2016, a Cambodian court also sentenced, in absentia, him to another five years in prison for conspiring to incite chaos in the country through posting fake documents on his Facebook page.
Rainsy's resignation came after Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen announced earlier this month that the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) would propose the parliament to amend the Law on Political Parties to ban convicts from serving as president of a party.
Hun Sen said the proposed amendment would also include a provision that would allow the Constitutional Council to dismantle any political party that its leaders made a serious crime.