Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday said that the government could not make the anniversary of the Oct 23, 1991, signing of the Paris Peace Agreement an official national holiday because the country already has too many holidays.
Opposition politicians have made plain that their parties would prefer a holiday to celebrate the signing of the Paris accords rather than the Jan 7, 1979, ousting of the Khmer Rouge regime.
“Some people have requested not to mark Jan 7 as a national holiday,” Hun Sen said at a bridge inauguration in Pursat province. “People want to celebrate Oct 23, but I said that it is meaningless.”
“If we have too many holidays no investors will invest in Cambodia,” he said, adding that he was a signatory to the Paris Peace Accords. There are currently 25 national holidays in Cambodia.
Hun Sen said that other political parties could remove the Jan 7 holiday and replace it with Oct 23 if they win the next national election.
“When you lead the government, you can change the holidays,” he said.
Human Rights Party Secretary-General Yem Ponhearith said that the government should reduce the number of national holidays by getting rid of those that are “unnecessary,” such as International Women’s Day on March 8.
“Oct 23 is more important than Jan 7. Oct 23 has led the country to be a more democratic country,” he said, adding that although Jan 7 marks the fall of the Khmer Rouge, it also marks the start of the “Vietnamese invasion.”
SRP President Sam Rainsy said Hun Sen refuses to celebrate the anniversary of Oct 23, 1991, because his CPP lost the subsequent national election in 1993.