Senior CPP official Heng Samrin has denied his party is fracturing over who should be fielded as the candidate for Cambodia’s next prime minister.
Khmer-language media have reported a growing conflict between Prime Minister Hun Sen and legislator Say Chhum, the ruling party’s general-secretary, and that the CPP’s five-year congress has been delayed while party officials try to repair the cracks in the party’s facade.
Heng Samrin said Thursday the reason for the delay was the high volume of work that has to be completed by party members before the congress, which was supposed to be held later this month or in early August.
Of Cambodia‘s three main political parties, the CPP has remained the most unified, at least in public. The Sam Rainsy Party has endured frequent bouts of infighting, with some party officials breaking rank, sometimes denouncing leader Sam Rainsy.
And Funcinpec is currently suffering from an internal push to oust co-Minister of Interior You Hockry and replace him with Khan Savoeun, RCAF deputy commander-in-chief.
CPP spokesman Khieu Kanharith called the rumors of a CPP split “exaggerated,” and said stories of CPP infighting over the prime minister position have occasionally circulated since the late 1980s.
“People are making rumors to disrupt the party, but we are still unified and work together. When a problem happens, we debate,” he said.
Khieu Kanharith said work outside Phnom Penh is keeping CPP officials from holding their congress, and the event will likely be postponed until next March.
Though prime ministers are only allowed to serve two terms, Hun Sen has said in the past that he will hold onto his post for the next decade, giving no indication that his grip on power is slipping.