Opposition Appoints Official to Replace Pen Sovann

The opposition CNRP has put forward Suon Rida, a medical doctor and the deputy head of its Phnom Penh working group, to replace Pen Sovann, the former prime minister who died late last month at the age of 80, to be the party’s lawmaker representing Kompong Speu province.

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said Mr. Rida was currently employed at the Ministry of Health, but would resign once he was sworn in.

He said the CNRP sent its request to the National Election Committee (NEC) on Tuesday.

Mr. Rida was the fourth candidate on the CNRP’s party list for Kompong Speu in the 2013 national election, in which the party won three out of six National Assembly seats there.

NEC spokesman Hang Puthea said the committee would vet the new lawmaker before he is sworn in at the National Assembly.

Pen Sovann was Cambodia’s first prime minister after the Khmer Rouge, but quickly fell out of favor with the Vietnam-backed regime for resisting its control.

He spent a decade in prison and under house arrest in Hanoi before returning to Cambodia in the early 1990s.

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