PM Warns Sam Rainsy to Tone Down Rhetoric

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sat­urday railed against opposition leader Sam Rainsy, comparing him to Pol Pot and threatening to crush him if he doesn’t tone down his rhetoric.

By telling his party congress Friday that he could work with the CPP only if Hun Sen were moved out of the executive branch, Sam Rainsy was trying to split the ruling party, Hun Sen said at a Kompong Cham province bridge inauguration in a speech broadcast on Apsara Radio.

“Stop trying to break us up—and be careful,” Hun Sen said. “I don’t want to have to crush you, because I want to keep an opposition party [in existence] to preserve representative democracy.”

Hun Sen did not name Sam Rain­sy but referred to “a certain political party leader speaking at their conference.”

“Pol Pot always criticized me,” Hun Sen said. “Now that Pol Pot is dead, I am criticized by a second Pol Pot.”

The CPP issued a statement Sat­urday saying it would never cooperate with the Sam Rainsy Party, “which has never done anything for the nation.”

Sam Rainsy Sunday said the premier’s remarks came from nervousness. “It is Hun Sen’s way of intimidating his colleagues,” he said.

Sam Rainsy painted his party congress as a triumphant rally and predicted winning one-third to one-half of National Assembly seats in July’s elections.

The Steering Committee on Sunday expelled parliamentarian Hong Sok Heang. Hong Sok Heang had publicly stated he was planning to leave for Funcinpec, then “asked me for a position I could not give him or he would leave,” Sam Rainsy said.

“That person should not be allowed to use the name of the party any longer,” he said.

Eight of the Funcinpec defectors were elected to the newly expanded 100-member Steering Committee, Sam Rainsy said.

Two of them, secretary of state Kieng Vang and lawmaker Keo Remy, got seats on the 14-member Standing Committee. Sam Rainsy confirmed that at least four—Keo Remy, Kieng Vang, secretary of state Ahmad Yahya and parliamentarian Ismail Yusof—have been promised prom­inent election candidacies.

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