King Norodom Sihamoni has signed off on a Royal Decree terminating the positions of every ministry-level adviser in the government except for those of Prime Minister Hun Sen in order to allow recently appointed officials to appoint new advisers.
The decree, signed October 1 and obtained Tuesday, removes from office every deputy prime minister adviser and senior minister adviser appointed to their position before the swearing in of the government for the fifth mandate last month.
“Terminate the positions of government advisers—all adviser/assistants to deputy prime ministers; all adviser-assistants to the cabinets of deputy prime ministers, senior ministers and ministers delegating to the prime minister; all adviser/assistants to ministry institutions; and all adviser/assistants delegating to ministry institutions who were appointed by Royal Decree before September 24, 2013,” the Royal Decree reads.
Defense Minister Tea Banh said Tuesday that the termination of all advisers and assistants at the beginning of a new electoral mandate was “a normal issue” for the government, explaining that it would allow continuing and incoming ministers to appoint new advisers.
General Banh said that though he did not know the exact number of advisers that would be appointed, there would likely be less than before.
“The [number of] appointments in the new mandate will not increase like before because they need to make it smaller to follow the facts of the situation and to do real work,” he said.
A number of new ministers were sworn into the Cabinet late last month, including new Finance Minister Aun Porn Moniroth and new Commerce Minister Sun Chanthol, replacing ministers Keat Chhon and Cham Prasidh, who had long served in their positions.
Mr. Hun Sen on September 29 appointed 21 new advisers—including Tep Khunnal, the former secretary to Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot—and 34 personal assistants to his office in a Royal Decree signed off by King Sihamoni.
The appointments represented a culling of Mr. Hun Sen’s advisers compared to the previous electoral mandate, when his office staffed about 100 advisers and assistants.