Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday denied being a dictator, but threatened to strip non-CPP politicians of all National Assembly commission leadership positions following the July 27 national election.
Though Hun Sen said the measure applies to all non-CPP politicians, he specifically picked out the SRP’s outspoken members Son Chhay, who is chairman of the Assembly’s foreign affairs commission, and Yim Sovann, who chairs the interior and national defense commission.
“This time, I don’t give you National Assembly chairmen or deputy chairmen positions,” Hun Sen said in his speech at a National Institute of Education graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh.
“There is no quota now. If you win, you have 100 percent [of positions]. If I win, I take 100 percent,” Hun Sen said. “Funcinpec and SRP, I will not give you. The CPP will take all,” he said.
Hun Sen said his decision was based on the poor behavior he said was exhibited by opposition party members in positions of leadership, their tendency to criticize the government and their failure to complete work or perform to his wishes.
“Some people who are chairmen, even though they are the opposition, you have to work to fulfill your position as chairman,” Hun Sen said, adding that he had already arranged CPP replacements for the incumbent position holders.
Adding that he was not a dictator, Hun Sen went on to insist that he has remained in power as long as he has because of his popularity with the voters who elected him.
“You are wrong so far,” Hun Sen said of his critics.
“They accused me of being a Vietnamese puppet. They shouted to change, but didn’t do anything…. Do not talk about changing the regime. This regime does not belong to Hun Sen; it is the monarchy…. Hun Sen is only the prime minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia,” he said.
“You have the rights to change but only during the election, nothing else. The real people power must be used July 27. You can wait,” he added.
Koul Panha, director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, said that the CPP must give some positions to other political parties on Assembly commissions and that quotas should be binding under the law.
“It is important to have other political lawmakers to make the commission positions” in order to “check and balance between the National Assembly and the government,” Koul Panha said.
“Quotas for political parties should be required by law,” he said.
SRP Secretary-General Eng Chhay Eang said any party that wins seats should be provided positions within the National Assembly commissions.
“The party must have representatives in the commissions. Now it is too early to be talking about power sharing. We are waiting for the results. If SRP wins the election, SRP will share commission positions,” he said.
Funcinpec Secretary-General Nhiek Bun Chhay said he was sick Monday and could not comment.