Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday took pains to clarify that Prince Norodom Ranariddh’s new appointment as King Norodom Sihamoni’s chief advisor may give the prince a rank equal to prime minister, but it refers only to his salary and not his authority.
Hun Sen said during a bridge inauguration ceremony in Phnom Penh that the rank granted to Prince Ranariddh on Dec 6 had led some people to believe there are now two prime ministers.
“People in Phnom Penh have said that there are two prime ministers. The prince’s position is equivalent to the prime minister position only for salary,” Hun Sen said.
“It doesn’t mean that he has the position that is equivalent to the prime minister’s privilege and power. He can’t have siren convoy or advisers. He has the position only for his salary, I would like to clarify on behalf of the King.”
He went on to say that Prince Ranariddh—who did once serve as a co-prime minister with Hun Sen from 1993 to 1997—could not appoint any officials in the government, taking the prince to task for already having appointing his own cabinet and spokesman.
“He cannot have groups which are equivalent to the prime minister’s,” Hun Sen said.
Hun Sen added that he did not support a request made by the prince to Interior Minister Sar Kheng for the right to have his own police escort vehicles.
“[Prince Ranariddh] requested for a siren convoy. I didn’t agree,” he said. He added that Prince Ranariddh can ask for escorts when he travels but the convoy vehicles must return to the Ministry of Interior later.
Prince Ranariddh spokesman Chea Chan Boribo said the prince had not made any government appointments, only a spokesman.
“People were cheated. The prince doesn’t request for any appointment,” he said, adding that Prince Ranariddh had never asked to have his own police escort.