PHNOM PENH, April 5 (Xinhua) -- The Cambodia's Interior Ministry on Wednesday formally recognized Kem Sokha as the new leader of the country's main opposition party, according to a letter signed by Interior Minister Sar Kheng.
"The Interior Ministry recognizes Mr. Kem Sokha as the president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP)," he said in the letter sent to Sokha.
The recognition came after the CNRP's central committee re-elected Sokha as the party's president on April 2 following the Interior Ministry recognized the CNRP's amendments to its internal rules on March 31.
Sokha replaced his long-serving predecessor, Sam Rainsy, who resigned on Feb. 11 due to "personal reasons".
Rainsy, 68, has been living in self-exile in France since November 2015 to avoid at least eight-year-prison sentence for defamation and incitement cases.
Sokha was first elevated to the post of the party president on March 2 by a party's congress, but the Interior Ministry did not recognize him, saying that his election was made in violation of the party's internal rules mandating an 18-month waiting period before electing a new president.
In the letter on Wednesday, Sar Kheng, who is also a deputy prime minister, said the Ministry still did not recognize Pol Ham, Eng Chhay Eang and Mu Sochua as the CNRP's vice presidents, saying that their elections by the party's central committee on April 2 contravened the party's amended internal rules.