PM Suggests Two-Term Premiership Limit Recommends Reforms

kompong cham town – Reastr Niyum Party President Ung Huot on Saturday outlined a party bid to institute reforms that would limit the likelihood of a long-standing military-backed regime in Cambodia.

The first prime minister spoke to about 5,000 onlookers at the party’s largest campaign event in the country’s largest constituency, declaring that if his party gains seats in parliament they will institute a two-term limit on the premiership.

Ung Huot referred to recently ousted Indo­nesian leader Su­harto, who led a military-backed regime for some 30 years. Su­harto was “clinging” to power until the people brought him down through student-led pro­tests, Ung Huot said.

“A corrupt politician in power for too long becomes too strong for the people to bring down,” Ung Huot warned.

The “big parties” have already turned down an informal Reastr Niyum suggestion to institute term limits on the premiership, Ung Huot said.

Ung Huot did not elaborate as to when or how he made the suggestion. It is unclear if his an­noun­ce­ment is a poke at Second Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has been accused of plotting to keep power even if the CPP loses the election.

Hun Sen has effectively led the country since 1985 when he be­came prime minister in the Viet­namese-backed People’s Repub­lic of Kampuchea government.

The first prime minister also announced two other measures he would pursue, including one to separate military and political posts. The Ministry of Defen­se, he said, should be headed up by a civilian “as they do in ad­vanced countries” in order to de-politicize the military.

The other measure would re­move party officials from office if they do not fight corruption satisfactorily. Ung Huot mentioned in particular the responsibility that security officials have for ridding Cam­bo­dia of robbery and banditry and that Agricul­ture Ministry officials have a duty to end illegal logging.

However, par­ty co-Vice Pre­sident Tao Seng Huor has failed to curb illegal logging as minister of Agriculture and has often been accused of being complicit in the outlawed cross-border trade.

People interviewed at the rally and in Kompong Cham town ranked Reastr Niyum as third or fourth most popular party in Kom­pong Cham in a field including the Son Sann Party, the Sam Rainsy Party, the CPP and Fun­cinpec.

Chheng Sreng, a 49-year-old farmer who hails from O’Reang-ou district, said that older people support Funcinpec, students and intellectuals support Sam Rainsy, and government officials, police and soldiers support the CPP.


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