Calls for Hun Sen to Step Aside Debunked as Ruse by PM

Second Prime Minister Hun Sen has dismissed opposition suggestions that he step down to allow Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party to join a CPP-led coalition without him, saying the proposition amounted to a trick. 

“To my understanding, it is just bargaining but it could also be an attempt to split the CPP party between me and [party Presi­dent] Chea Sim,” Hun Sen said in a interview Tuesday with Voice of America, rebroadcast on Bayon Radio on Wednesday.

“I think they must not spend too much time trying to split the CPP. They must spend time to maintain their internal parties.”

Many analysts attributed the CPP’s success in July’s election to its ability to stick to­gether while opponents fell apart. But opponents in turn accuse Hun Sen of orchestrating splits in a “divide and conquer” strategy.

Hun Sen also clarified reports from his aides that he no longer accepted the third party, Sam Rainsy’s, in a coalition, saying he was amenable to the idea, but Sam Rainsy himself had created the obstacle by refusing to join a Hun Sen-led government.

Asked if he was happy with his party’s apparent victory in the polls, Hun Sen said his chief source of satisfaction was the vote passed off freely and fairly and without violence. But he also acknowledged pleasure at the CPP triumph, paying tribute to VOA’s role in the victory.

“Your radio station has cursed and scorned the CPP and specifically myself,” Hun Sen said. “So I would like to thank you for your curses and scornful words, which made people feel bored and turn to vote for me and the CPP.”

Domestic broadcast media submits itself to government or control. VOA and Radio Free Asia, both US-sponsored stations transmitting from overseas, are the only Khmer-language source of opposition views on the airwaves. As such, they have come under frequent fire as propaganda services for the opposition.

“I would like to request that your radio should not just be a spokesman of any opposition groups or individuals whose words we call ‘gangster’s words’ in Cambodia,” Hun Sen said.

Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA new weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.